Oil edges higher on U.S. stock draw

Pump jack over an oil well along Interstate 25 near Dacono, Colo, December 22, 2018. (AP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices climbed on Wednesday toward last week’s seven-year highs as a draw in U.S. crude stocks confirmed strong demand and a lack of supply.

Brent crude futures rose 25 cents to $89.41 a barrel by 0614 GMT, after easing 10 cents on Tuesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 25 cents at $88.45 per barrel, having gained 5 cents the previous day.

Tight global supplies and geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have boosted oil prices by about 15% so far this year.

On Friday, crude benchmarks hit their highest prices since October 2014, with Brent touching $91.70 and U.S. crude hitting $88.84.

“A drop in U.S. crude inventories provided support, though an increase of gasoline stocks partially offset bullish sentiment,” Reuters quoted Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, as saying.

“OPEC+ is likely to maintain its policy unchanged, which means a supply shortage and an upward trend in oil prices will continue,” he said.

U.S. crude stocks fell by 1.6 million barrels for the week ended January 28, against analysts’ estimate of an increase of 1.5 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

But gasoline inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels, above analysts’ expectations for a 1.6-million-barrel build.

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