Crude Oil Futures Settle At Near 10-month High

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As crude oil prices extended gains to a fourth session, the most active U.S. oil futures contract hit a near 10-month closing high on Thursday.

Optimism about a coronavirus relief package in the U.S., and the rollout of vaccines contributed to oil’s uptick.

Recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing a sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories last week also supported oil prices.

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

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended higher by $0.54 or about 1.1% at $48.36 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were up $0.40 or 0.8% at $51.48 a barrel a little while ago.

Data released by EIA on Wednesday 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.

On the stimulus front, following a meeting with other congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said the talks have made “major headway toward hammering out a targeted pandemic relief package that would be able to pass both chambers with bipartisan majorities.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that the two sides are “close to an agreement” but cautioned that it’s “not a done deal yet.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said the Speaker, Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke Wednesday night as part of a series of phone conversations to complete the relief negotiations.

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