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Oil prices mixed amid Gaza violence

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API, DSH, FLT, NAB, STO, WPL,

LONDON, Nov 15 AFP

November 16 2012, 05:17AM

Oil prices have diverged as traders react to Middle East supply concerns and digest a batch of US economic data.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December jumped $US1.14 to $US110.75 a barrel in late London deals on Thursday.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December, fell 43 cents to $US85.89 a barrel.

"Israel's military strikes against Hamas in Gaza have shifted attention back to the supply risks, causing oil prices to rise," said Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg.

Seven Palestinians and three Israelis were killed in a wave of unrelenting cross-border fighting on Thursday as the Jewish state pressed a vast air offensive on Gaza.

Operation Pillar of Defence, Israel's biggest military campaign against Gaza in nearly four years, began on Wednesday with the targeted killing of top Hamas commander Ahmed Jaabari.

The violence, which erupted as Israel heads towards a January general election, sparked expressions of deep concern from the international community and prompted an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

Traders also reacted to data from the United States, which is the world's biggest oil consuming nation.

US weekly jobless claims jumped by 78,000 in one week after Superstorm Sandy, which both interrupted reporting and forced people out of work in the northeast, Labor Department data showed on Thursday.

US consumer prices meanwhile rose for a third straight month in October but at a slower pace than recent months as energy prices eased, separate figures showed.

Elsewhere, the Department of Energy said US crude inventories had risen by 1.1 million barrels last week.

In China, which is the world's biggest consumer of energy, the country's all-powerful Communist Party on Thursday unveiled a new seven-man leadership council steered by Xi Jinping to take command for the next decade.

After striding out in Beijing's Great Hall of the People as the party's new general-secretary, succeeding President Hu Jintao, Xi vowed to fight official corruption and build a "better life" for the nation's 1.3 billion people.