Oil prices rose by about 1% on Friday, adding to gains from the previous trading session, after data revealed lower fuel inventories as a result of a winter storm that hit the United States at the end of the year.
Brent crude futures last gained 79 cents, or 1%, to $79.48 per barrel at 02:03 GMT, having gained 85 cents on Thursday to close trading at $78.69.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also up 80 cents, or 1.1%, to $74.47 per barrel. They had increased 83 cents by session’s end to close at $73.67.
According to information released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday, distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, dropped more than expected in the week before December 30. In contrast to expectations, they decreased by 1.4 million barrels.
In contrast to analysts’ predictions of a 486,000-barrel decline, EIA data show that the United States’ gasoline inventories dropped by 346,000 barrels last week.
China’s services activity decreased in December for the fourth straight month despite rising COVID infections, but the rate of declines slowed and business confidence reached a 17-month high.
In response to infrequent public protests, China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, abruptly changed its strict zero-COVID policy in the early days of December, which led to an increase in infections all over the country.