Oil prices rose on Thursday as a more-than-expected decrease in US crude oil inventory signaled a potential rise in US oil demand amid positive developments of coronavirus vaccine.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $48.68 per barrel at 0641 GMT for a 1.88% increase after closing Wednesday at $47.78 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $45.82 per barrel at the same time for a 0.24% increase after it ended the previous session at $45.71 a barrel.
The upward trend in oil prices continues over a more-than-expected decline in US crude oil inventories last week as it signals that crude demand is rebounding in the US, the world's largest oil consumer.
Commercial crude oil inventories in the US posted a surprise fall and dropped by 800,000 barrels last week relative to the market expectation of 333,000 barrels draw.
Positive COVID-19 vaccine news is still pushing the oil prices up, overshadowing the concerns caused by the increasing number of coronavirus cases, lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the countries as part of their mitigation efforts.
Political risk and oil analyst Jose Chalhoub said two successive attacks against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, first in a production distribution center in Jeddah and then an oil tanker in Saudi side of Red Sea, is adding a geopolitical risk factor to an already upward trending oil prices.
Chalhoub said this euphoria over oil prices and possibly short-lived recent spikes might be a momentous sentiment over the vaccines and a potential recovery of the economy after OPEC has hinted an extension on production cut deal.
By Sibel Morrow