Oil prices steadied after falling sharply in the previous session, as concerns eased about shipping disruptions along the Red Sea route even as tensions in the Middle East continued to rise, media reports said.
Oil prices advanced on Wednesday after data showed a larger-than-expected drop in US crude stockpiles.
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery added $1.64, or 2.3 per cent, to settle at $72.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for February delivery increased 1.31 dollars, or 1.8 per cent, to close at 75.29 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, Xinhua news agency reported.
The above market reactions came after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday said the nation’s crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels during the week ending December 17. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had expected a decline of 3.9 million barrels in US crude supplies.
At 423.6 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are about 8 per cent below the five year average for this time of year.
According to the EIA, total motor gasoline inventories increased by 5.5 million barrels last week, while distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels.