WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, after data showed a bigger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended January 11. However, gains were just modest due to renewed worries about near term energy demand.
Crude oil futures for February ended up $0.20, or 0.4%, at $52.31 a barrel.
On Tuesday, crude oil futures ended up $1.60, or 3.2%, at $52.11 a barrel.
According to the report released by the Energy Information Administration this morning, crude oil inventories in the U.S. fell by 2.68 million barrels in the week to January 11. That was much higher than the expected drop. In the week ended January 4, crude stockpiles had declined by 1.7 million barrels.
Meanwhile, gasoline inventories rose by 7.5 million barrels last week, more than 2.5 times the expected increase. Distillate stockpiles increased by 2.97 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a gain of nearly 1.6 million.
The report also said U.S. crude production rose to a record high of 11.9 million barrels per day last week, as crude exports jumped close to record highs near 3 million barrels per day.
Due to mounting worries about global economic growth the outlook for near term energy demand remains weak, notwithstanding recent reports about the Chinese government signaling more stimulus to revive growth in the world's second largest economy.
OPEC-led supply cuts may tighten markets in 2019, though doubts persist over the effectiveness of the production cuts amidst increasing concerns of a global economic slowdown.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX