Oil prices rise after US jobless data

Oil prices rose on Thursday as traders digested US jobless data amid a weak outlook for world crude demand.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April jumped 88 cents to $109.40 a barrel in late London trade.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April gained 24 cents to $92.76 a barrel.

New claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week for the third week in a row, signalling continuing improvement in the troubled jobs market, Labor Department data released Thursday showed.

The data came a day after the Department of Energy showed US crude stockpiles rose 2.6 million barrels in the week ended March 8, indicating weaker demand for oil in the world's biggest economy.

Also on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency, which advises a number of countries on energy policy, slashed its global forecast for growth in world oil demand for the second straight month, citing uncertainty from the US budget talks, sluggish Chinese business activity and unemployment in Europe.