Oil Prices Edge Higher In Choppy Trade

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Oil prices rose slightly on Wednesday as positive European manufacturing data as well as policy reassurance from a top Fed official helped investors shrug off concerns over fuel demand.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $41.97 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were up 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $39.92 a barrel.

Flash survey data from IHS Markit showed that the euro area private sector stagnated in September. The composite output index declined to 50.1 in September from 51.9 in August.

While services recorded the largest contraction of output since May, manufacturing output growth accelerated in the month to the fastest since February 2018.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s measured comments also helped support sentiment, while the upside remained capped by rising coronavirus cases around the world and data showing a surprise rise in U.S. crude inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, reported late Tuesday that crude inventories rose by 691,000 barrels in the week to Sept. 18, rather than falling as analysts forecast. Official inventory numbers from the Energy Information Administration will be out later in the day.

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