Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, recouping early losses, as crude stockpiles in the United States, the worlds largest oil consumer, fell more sharply than expected as refining output rose and exports surged.
Brent crude oil futures rose by 17 cents, or 0.3, to 69.13 a barrel by 0643 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures gained by 9 cents, or 0.1, to 65.72 a barrel.
Both benchmarks hit their highest since midMarch on Wednesday, before retreating to end little changed following two days of gains.
Easing coronavirus restrictions in Europe have led to a pickup in fuel demand, analysts from Citi said in a note.
As the rollout of vaccines continues and a pentup summer driving season continues to manifest, this trend should accelerate, keeping demand for motor fuels robust and boosting market confidence in the recovery story, they said.
U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week as refining output rose and exports surged, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. SEIA
Crude inventories fell by 8 million barrels in the week to April 30 to 485.1 million barrels, compared with expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.3 millionbarrel drop.
U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 737,000 barrels in the week, the EIA said, against a forecast for a 652,000barrel draw.
We think U.S. demand is strong, said analysts from Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The U.S. refinery utilisation rate is now above the fiveyear average.
U.S. jet fuel demand is…