Global crude prices jumped higher Wednesday, taking Us oil past $60 for the first time since November, after the U.S. Energy and Information Administration posted a bigger-than-expected decline in domestic stockpiles for a second consecutive week.
The EIA said crude stocks fell by 9.59 million barrels in the week ending March 15, the biggest since July 2018 and compared to a market expectation of a modest 310,000 million barrel buildup. The drawdown takes the weekly inventory level to 439.48 million barrels, the EIA said. Gasoline stocks were also lower, falling by 4.6 million barrels, nearly twice as large as analysts had expected, for a second consecutive week.
The rolling 4-week average for oil imports fell to the lowest levels since 1996, the EIA noted, as sanctions on the sale of Venezuelan crude entered their second month.
Brent crude contracts for May delivery, the global benchmark for oil prices, pared earlier declines to rise 80 cents per barrel to $68.41 per barrel in New York trading following the EIA release, the highest in more than four months.
WTI contracts for April delivery, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gasoline prices, were seen 82 cents higher on the session at $60.11 per barrel, the highest since November 9.