LONDON (AFP) - Crude prices jumped on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of energy inventory data in the United States, the worlds biggest oil-consuming nation. New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery advanced $1.30 to $98.80 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for September delivery grew $1.25 to $118.31 in London midday trade. The US Department of Energy was to publish its weekly energy inventory figures at 1430 GMT, with analysts expected the data to show that crude stockpiles dropped last week. Ahead for the figures, traders digested better-than-expected housing data in the United States. We have seen that investor confidence was boosted from the US housing data, Ker Chung Yang, an analyst with Phillip Futures, told AFP.