LONDON—Oil prices rose on Aug. 12 after an industry report showed U.S. crude inventories last week fell more than analysts had expected, bolstering hopes that fuel demand in the world’s biggest economy can weather the coronavirus pandemic.
Brent crude was up 67 cents, or 1.5%, at $45.17 a barrel (bbl) by 7:12 Central time, after falling around 1% on Aug. 11.
West Texas Intermediate oil was up 65 cents, or 1.6%, at $42.26/bbl, having dropped 0.8% in the previous session.
The American Petroleum Institute said on Aug. 11 that crude stocks fell by 4 MMbbl last week, compared to analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a draw of 2.9 MMbbl.
It also showed falls in gasoline and distillate stocks. Official government data is due later on Aug. 12.
The “fall in U.S. API crude inventories..., the third sizeable weekly fall in a row, has supported prices today,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
A downward revision to a key U.S. oil production forecast for this year also lent support to prices.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration now expects U.S. crude production to fall by 990,000 bbl/d this year to 11.26 million bpd, steeper than the 600,000 bbl/d decline it forecast last month.
Still, growing uncertainty over a stalemate in Washington in talks for a stimulus package to support recovery from the deepest impact of the pandemic may weigh on prices looking ahead.
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