Crude oil prices increased on Thursday on positive economic recovery signs in the US and with a large draw on the country’s fuel inventories.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $68.28 per barrel at 0658 GMT for a 0.55% increase after closing Wednesday at $67.90 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $64.83 per barrel at the same time for a 0.60% rise after it ended the previous session at $64.44 a barrel.
US consumer prices, which measures changes in the price of goods and services from a consumer’s perspective, increased 0.4% in February in line with market expectations. This reflected a more positive outlook for market and oil prices.
On an annual basis, the Consumer Price Index was up 1.7% in February from the same month in 2020, again in line with market consensus.
The approval of the $1.9 trillion economic support package by the US House of Representatives also supported a more buoyant market recovery.
The House of Representatives voted along near-party lines on Wednesday to approve US President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
The package will see most Americans receiving $1,400 in direct payments, an expansion of the child tax credit up to $3,600, and a boost in funds for state and local governments reeling from the pandemic.
The massive draw in US gas fuel stocks, resulting from halted production in the country’s oil-producing hub of Texas last month because of freezing weather conditions, also bolstered oil prices.
Gasoline inventories decreased by 11.9 million barrels, or 4.9%, to 231.6 million barrels in the US.
However, a more-than-expected rise in US crude oil inventories limited further oil price increases.
The country’s crude oil inventories increased by 13.8 million barrels to 498.4 million barrels relative to the market expectation of a fall of 833,000 barrels.
By Sibel Morrow