Crude oil prices were up at trading start on Wednesday with investor optimism over the start of trade talks between the U.S. and Japan and with the greater possibility of global economic growth and stronger oil demand this year.
International benchmark Brent crude remained above the $60 per barrel mark and traded at $60.41 per barrel at 0600 GMT with a 0.5% gain after closing Tuesday at $60.12 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $56.41 a barrel at the same time for a 0.4% increase after ending the previous session at $56.19 per barrel.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will kick off their two-day negotiations in Washington, D.C. later Wednesday.
The officials' second meeting this month aims to narrow the trade gap between their countries and form a framework before their heads of state meet at the 45th G7 meeting in France between Aug. 24-26.
Renewed optimism prior to U.S.-Japan trade talks and the G7 meeting has been pushing crude oil prices higher with investors now considering that global oil demand could increase this year emerging from constructive trade relations.
On the supply side, American Petroleum Institute (API) reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude oil inventories decreased for the first time in three weeks.
API's data, which is viewed as an early indicator of weekly U.S. crude stock levels, showed a 3.5 million barrel decline for the week ending Aug. 16, falling far more than the market expectation of a drop-off of 1.9 million barrels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) weekly crude oil and gasoline inventories data will be released later on Wednesday.
The market expectation for the EIA data is a drawdown of 1.9 million barrels in crude oil stocks.
By Ovunc Kutlu