Oil Futures Settle Sharply Higher After Inventory Data

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Crude oil prices rose sharply on Wednesday, rebounding after posting losses in the previous two sessions, after data showed a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

France’s decision to reopen its borders with the U.K. to travelers and truck drivers who test negative for Covid-19, a weaker dollar and optimism about a post-Brexit trade deal between the U.K. and European Union helped as well.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended higher by $1.10 or about 2.3% at $48.12 a barrel.

Brent crude futures gained $1.12 or about 2.25% to $51.20 a barrel.

Both WTI and Brent Crude contracts shed about 2% on Tuesday amid worries about a likely drop in energy demand due to the rapidly-spreading new coronavirus strain.

Data from Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude inventories in the U.S. fell by 562,000 barrels in the week ended December 18.

The data also said gasoline stockpiles were down by 1.1 million barrels last week, and distillate stocks dropped by 2.3 million barrels.

Oil also found support from the closure of the Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal last week following a fire at the facility.

The U.S. Congressional nod to a $892 billion coronavirus aid package helped boost investor sentiment, but Trump has threatened not to sign the relief bill, saying he wants an increase in the stimulus checks for individuals to $2,000 from $600.


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