Crude oil prices were up on Thursday after US oil inventories fell more than expected and global macroeconomic data showed a better-than-expected recovery to bolster investor hopes of greater global oil demand.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $46.28 per barrel at 0905 GMT for a 1.6% increase after closing Wednesday at $45.54 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $43.43 a barrel at the same time for a 0.09% increase after ending the previous session at $43.39 per barrel.
The prices increased as data showed that commercial crude oil inventories in the US fell by 4.7 million barrels, or 0.9%, to 507.8 million barrels for the week ending August 21, compared to the market expectation of a decrease of 3.7 million barrels.
-Promising COVID-19 vaccines
The upward trend in prices was also supported by COVID-19 vaccine developments and better-than-expected global macroeconomic data.
Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna said its experimental coronavirus vaccine developed a similar number of antibodies for people aged 56 years and older as younger adults in a preliminary test, a positive sign for the high-risk age group by quelling concerns that vaccines would not provide as much protection for older adults.
New orders for US durable goods surged by 11.2% in July to $230.7 billion as business investment has begun to recover.
Orders for long-lasting US factory products were forecast to grow 4.3% in July, compared to an increase of 7.6% a month ago.
Prices were also impacted by tropical storm Laura, which brought a halt in production on many offshore platforms and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that contains more than half of the country’s petroleum refining capacity.
According to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), approximately 84.3% of the current oil production and 60.9% of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico were shut-in.
The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now over 24 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
While the US still tops the number of cases with 5.8 million as of Thursday morning, Brazil has more than 3.7 million cases, and India follows recording its highest daily increase of 75,000 to total over 3.3 million cases.
By Sibel Morrow