Oil Futures Settle Sharply Higher After Inventory Data

Crude oil futures settled sharply higher on Wednesday after data showed a larger than expected drop in crude inventories in the U.S. in the week ended December 17th.

Easing worries about Omicron and U.S. President Joe Biden's remarks that it is still possible to reach a deal with Senator Joe Manchin to push the $2 trillion Build Back Better bill through Congress also contributed to the jump in oil prices.

There are signs that the U.S. and U.K. were not headed for widespread lockdowns as previously feared.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended higher by $1.64 or 2.3% at $72.76 a barrel.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories in the U.S. fell by 4.72 million barrels last week, nearly two times the expected drop.

Gasoline stockpiles were up by 5.53 million barrels last week versus against expectations for a 65,000 barrels increase. Meanwhile, distillate stockpiles surged up 396,000 a barrels in the week.

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 3.7 million barrels last week, while gasoline supplies rose by 3.7 million barrels and distillate stocks fell by 849,000 barrels.

U.S. gross domestic product increased by more than previously estimated in the third quarter of 2021, surging by 2.3% against an expected jump of 2.1%, according to revised data released by the Commerce Department.

A report released by the National Association of Realtors showed U.S. existing home sales increased for the third straight month in November, reaching their highest annual rate in ten months.

NAR said existing home sales jumped 1.9% to an annual rate of 6.46 million in November after climbing by 0.8% to a rate of 6.34 million in October.

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