Oil prices extend gains on lower U.S. fuel inventories By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposit in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, Argentina, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose around 1% on Friday, extending gains from the previous trading session after data showed lower fuel inventories following a winter storm that hit the United States at the year end.
futures last gained 79 cents, or 1%, to $79.48 a barrel at 0203 GMT, after settling up 85 cents at $78.69 on Thursday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also up 80 cents, or 1.1%, at $74.47 a barrel. They had settled 83 cents higher at $73.67 in the previous session.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Thursday that distillate inventories, which include diesel and , dropped more than expected in the week to Dec. 30. They fell 1.4 million versus expectations of a 396,000-barrel drop.
Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline stocks fell 346,000 barrels last week, according to the EIA data, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 486,000-barrel drop.
While services activity in China contracted in December for a fourth straight month amid surging COVID infections, the pace of declines slowed while business confidence rose to a 17-month high.
China, the world’s largest importer, made an abrupt turn in its stringent zero-COVID policy in early December following rare public protests, leading to a surge in infections across the country.