Oil prices rise on US inventory report


NEW YORK (AFP) – Oil prices rose Thursday, benefitting for a second day from positive momentum after a surprisingly big drop in US petroleum inventories.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February delivery advanced 60 cents to $38.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Benchmark oil contract Brent North Sea crude for February delivery rose 51 cents to $37.87 a barrel in London near 1830 GMT.

Oil prices had also risen Wednesday after the Department of Energy reported that US crude inventories fell 5.9 million barrels for the week ending December 18, a much larger decline than many analysts had expected.

“Right now it s just some quiet holiday trading,” said Carl Larry of consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Larry said oil prices were also benefitting from a drop in the US greenback, which makes dollar-denominated commodities, including oil, more affordable outside the US.

Some analysts expressed doubt that the oil s push higher signaled a shift in a market that has been depressed for more than a year amid a supply glut.

“While there s talk that a further upward correction is possible in the near term, we re also seeing widespread skepticism that higher levels will prove sustainable given the ongoing global supply/demand surplus,” said Citi Futures analyst Tim Evans.



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