Oil prices rise on crude inventory draw

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rose on Thursday, lifted by a surprise draw on United States crude inventories as well as ongoing dollar weakness which makes oil cheaper in global markets and potentially spurs demand.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $65.39 a barrel at 0021 GMT, up 22 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their previous close.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.65 per barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent.

Both benchmarks are hovering just below their highest levels since early February, having risen around 10 per cent from March lows.

Some support for crude futures came from currency markets, where the dollar .DXY fell as Federal Reserve officials stuck to their view of three rate increases for 2018, even as they delivered an expected quarter point rate hike.

In oil markets, US crude inventories C-STK-T-EIA fell 2.6 million barrels in the week to March 16, to 428.31 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said late on Wednesday.

“Oil … had a big session overnight although this wasn’t just a function of the interest rate move.

“Inventory data for last week showed a surprise crude draw as well as significant drawdowns in both gasoline and distillates inventories,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.

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