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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Higher

Despite data showing an increase in U.S. crude inventories last week and lingering worries about the outlook for energy demand, crude oil futures settled sharply higher on Wednesday, rebounding strongly after suffering a sharp drop earlier in the week.

Data showing a drop in crude stockpiles at the storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, to the lowest level in about seven months supported oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for September ended up by $3.10 or about 4.6% at $70.30 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained about 1.3% on Tuesday after declining by nearly 7.5%, the biggest drop of the year, on Monday.

Data released by Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed crude inventories in the U.S. rose by about 2.1 million barrels last week, as against expectations for a 4.5 million drop.

The EIA data also showed gasoline stockpiles dropped by 100,000 barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles declined by about 1.3 million barrels.

Crude oil prices tumbled earlier in the week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, collectively known as OPEC+, decided to boost supply by 400,000 barrels per day from August through December.

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