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Crude Oil Futures Rise Over 2%, Set 4-Month Closing High

Crude oil prices climbed on Thursday, with stronger than expected jobs data and optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine triggering hopes that energy demand will pick up soon.

Recent data from the Energy Information Administration that showed a sharp decline in crude inventories in the U.S. last week also continued to support oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended up $0.83 or about 2.1% at $40.65 a barrel, the highest close for a front- month contract in four months.

On Wednesday, WTI futures moved up 1.4%. For the week, crude oil futures gained about 5%. Due to the Independence Day holiday, the New York Mercantile Exchange will not have a regular trading session on Friday.

Brent crude futures were up $1.1 or about 2.65% at $43.14 a barrel.

Data from U.S. Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment skyrocketed by 4.8 million jobs in June after soaring by an upwardly revised 2.7 million jobs in May.

Economists had expected employment to surge up by about 3.0 million jobs compared to the spike of 2.5 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May. The unemployment rate had been expected to dip to 12.3%.

Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed crude inventories in the country fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week ended June 27, compared with an increase of 1.4 million barrels a week earlier.

The amount of oil stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, to settle WTI delivery fell a larger than expected 263,000 barrels and distillate stockpiles dropped by 593,000 barrels, but gasoline inventory rose 1.2 million barrels last week, the data showed.

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