Oil prices increased on Thursday over the less-than-expected increase in US crude stocks and despite a protracted economic recovery worldwide from the rise in Covid-19 cases.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $66.94 per barrel at 0645 GMT for a 0.42% increase after closing Wednesday at $66.66 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $63.70 per barrel at the same time for a 0.55% rise after it ended the previous session at $63.35 a barrel.
Oil prices recorded an almost 3% drop on Wednesday due to the rise in Covid-19 cases worldwide, especially in the major oil consumer, India. The country reported the highest daily deaths of 4,529 due to Covid-19 on Wednesday. The nationwide tally has now reached 283,248.
Warnings from US Federal Reserve members over greater risks to financial stability also negatively affected prices on Wednesday.
"Various participants commented on the prolonged period of low interest rates and highly accommodative financial market conditions," the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in the minutes released Wednesday of the Central Bank's last meeting.
Financial markets across the US and Europe, including cryptocurrencies, have witnessed high volatility and steep declines in recent weeks despite the Fed keeping its benchmark interest rate at a near-zero level after the conclusion of its two-day meeting on April 27–28.
However, a boost to oil prices came with a less-than-expected increase in US crude stocks. US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 0.3% for the week ending May 14, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels to 486 million barrels, less than the market expectation of a 1.6 million-barrel rise. Gasoline inventories also decreased by 2 million barrels to 234.2 million barrels over that period.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu