Oil prices rose on Wednesday over hopes of a recovery in US demand, the world’s largest oil consumer, after crude oil inventories in the country declined by more than the market expectation.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $69.36 per barrel at 0737 GMT for a 0.11% increase after closing Tuesday at $69.28 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $66.12 per barrel at the same time for a 0.65% increase after it ended the previous session at $65.69 a barrel.
Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) announced its estimate of a fall of 7.7 million barrels in US crude oil inventories relative to the market expectation of a draw of 2.2 million barrels.
The forecast of a larger inventory draw signals a recovery in crude demand in the US, assuaging investor concerns about declining demand to support higher prices.
The easing of restrictions in the US and some European countries also helped drive prices up, prompting investors to envisage demand recovery.
France is lifting internal travel restrictions while many countries, including Germany, Italy, and Denmark, plan to ease restrictions for those fully vaccinated. In Ireland, restrictions will be eased gradually up to June 7 and the UK expects Covid restrictions to be further eased on May 17.
However, the grim situation in India is worsening, as the country’s death toll rose by a record 3,780 over the last 24 hours, a day after it became the second country after the US to cross the grim milestone of 20 million infections.
Daily infections rose by 382,315 on Wednesday, Indian health ministry data showed.
By Sibel Morrow