- Brent gains 0.7%, U.S. crude up 0.4%
- U.S. inventories fall by 3.2 mln barrels
- Analysts expected 2.3 mln barrel decline
Oil prices rose for a second day on Wednesday after industry group data showed U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected last week, easing worries about oversupply that had dragged on markets in recent sessions.
Brent crude was up 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $73.98 a barrel by 0318 GMT. The global benchmark settled 38 cents higher at $73.44 a barrel on Tuesday, after climbing to as high as $74.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $68.76, having settled the previous session up 63 cents, or nearly 1 percent.
U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles dropped more than expected last week, industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. Reports that China will increase infrastructure spending also helped reduce concerns that U.S.-China trade tensions will dent the country’s demand for oil.
“Prices are moving higher after the API reported a more massive draw than analysts had expected,” said Stephen Innes, Head of Trading, APAC at brokerage OANDA.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.2 million barrels in the week to July 20 to 407.6 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub dropped by 808,000 barrels, the API said. Refinery crude runs declined by 60,000 barrels per day.
Gasoline stocks fell by 4.9 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 713,000-barrel drop.
Distillate fuels stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.3 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 207,000-barrel gain, the API data showed.
U.S. crude imports last week eased by 249,000 barrels per day to 8.3 million bpd.
Official figures from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration are due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.