Oil futures were on track for a third straight gain Wednesday, extending a rebound from last week’s rout, as traders awaited official data on U.S. crude inventories after industry figures showed a drop last week.

West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery


rose 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $67.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. October Brent crude

the global benchmark, was up 30 cents, or 0.4%, at $71.35 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

A larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories “will probably keep oil prices supported, while an unexpected build should see prices trim some of their sharp gains made earlier in the week,” said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at ThinkMarkets, in a note.

Crude has found support this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday gave formal approval to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.

and BioNTech SE
which has raised expectations that more people will get the shot as large businesses and government organizations make vaccinations for their employees mandatory, Razaqzada said.

“As a result, traders have speculated that demand for oil should rise as more people are likely to travel if fully inoculated,” he said.

Crude was buoyed after the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 1.6 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 20, according to sources. The API report also reportedly showed inventory declines of 985,000 barrels for gasoline and 245,000 barrels for distillate supplies.

Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma — the delivery hub for Nymex oil futures — edged down by 485,000 barrels for the week, sources said.

Official inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday. On average, the EIA is expected to show crude inventories down by 3.2 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. The survey also calls for supply declines of 1.5 million barrels for gasoline, and 400,000 barrels for distillates.

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