Oil prices extend gains on lower U.S. fuel inventories
Shafaq News/ Oil prices rose around 1% on Friday, extending gains from the previous trading session after data showed lower fuel inventories following a winter storm that hit the United States at the year end.
Brent crude futures last gained 79 cents, or 1%, to $79.48 a barrel at 0203 GMT, after settling up 85 cents at $78.69 on Thursday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also up 80 cents, or 1.1%, at $74.47 a barrel. They had settled 83 cents higher at $73.67 in the previous session.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Thursday that distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, dropped more than expected in the week to Dec. 30. They fell 1.4 million versus expectations of a 396,000-barrel drop.
Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline stocks fell 346,000 barrels last week, according to the EIA data, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 486,000-barrel drop.
While services activity in China contracted in December for a fourth straight month amid surging COVID infections, the pace of declines slowed while business confidence rose to a 17-month high.
China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, made an abrupt turn in its stringent zero-COVID policy in early December following rare public protests, leading to a surge in infections across the country.