Oil futures rose Thursday, after a weekly drawdown in U.S. inventories helped propel crude to its highest close in two weeks.

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery
CL00,
+0.47%

CLU21,
+0.47%

rose 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $72.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent crude
BRNU21,
+0.55%

was up 30 cents, or 0.4%, at $75.04 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. October Brent
BRN00,
+0.62%

BRNV21,
+0.62%
,
the global benchmark, added 39 cents, or 0.5%, to trade at $74.26 a barrel.

The Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 4.1 million barrels for the week ended July 23, marking the ninth weekly decline in 10 weeks.

In addition, crude inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 1.27 million barrels, leaving inventories at the delivery hub for WTI futures at their lowest since January 2020, noted Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.

That contributed to a strengthening of the spread between the nearby September WTI futures contract and the October contract
CLV21,
+0.52%
,
he noted. The front-month contract traded at a premium of around 60 cents a barrel to October.

The data wasn’t all positive though.

Crude-oil processing fell for a fourth consecutive week, coming in below 16 million barrels a day for the first time since the end of May, noted Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.

“It is therefore a good 1 million barrels per day under the average of the years 2015-19. This does not exactly point to robust demand from refineries,” he said.

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