Oil Prices Hover Near Nine-month High

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Oil prices rose on Thursday to hit a nine-month high after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep funneling cash into financial markets and government data showed a fall in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

Hopes of a Brexit breakthrough in EU trade talks, progress towards a U.S. fiscal stimulus deal and optimism over vaccine rollouts also buoyed prices.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 0.4 percent to $51.26 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.6 percent at $48.09 a barrel. Both benchmarks hit a nine-month high earlier in the day.

The Fed on Wednesday vowed to continue bond-buying until “substantial” economic progress is made in inflation and the labor market.

Data released by Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories in the U.S. declined by 3.1 million barrels last week compared to estimates for a 1.937 million-barrel drawdown.

As Brexit trade talks reach a climax, officials cautiously predicted a deal within days.

Investors look forward to further talks among U.S. lawmakers on a $900 billion virus-relief spending package, as a Friday deadline loomed.

The first Covid-19 vaccinations are underway at U.S. nursing homes, while the European Union is on track to approve its first Covid-19 vaccine ahead of Christmas.

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