Oil prices on Thursday continued increasing, as major oil producers reiterated their commitment to the OPEC+ output cut decision, and US crude oil inventories declined to the lowest level since March 2020.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $58.91 per barrel at 0655 GMT for a 0.37% rise after closing Wednesday at $58.69 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $56.19 per barrel at the same time for a 0.89% increase after it ended the previous session at $55.69 a barrel.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the oil majors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) expressed their full commitment to the group's output cut decisions to rebalance the market amid pandemic-driven low demand.
In line with the decision taken in an OPEC meeting in December, the group, including OPEC members and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed to increase overall output cuts to 8.125 million barrels per day (bpd) for February and 8.05 million bpd in March, including a 1 million bpd cut from Saudi Arabia, the de-facto OPEC leader and driver of OPEC+ production cuts.
The group noted that while economic prospects and oil demand would remain uncertain in the coming months, the gradual rollout of vaccines around the world is seen as a positive factor for the rest of the year, boosting the global economy and oil demand.
Exerting an upward pressure on oil prices, US crude oil inventories declined last week to their lowest level since March of last year, signaling a crude demand rebound in the US, the world's largest oil consumer.
US commercial crude oil inventories fell by 1 million barrels, or 0.2%, to 475.7 million barrels, relative to the market expectation of a build of 367,000 barrels, according to data released by the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.
By Sibel Morrow