WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Oil prices rose for a second straight session on Wednesday amid signs of strong demand from refineries in China, the world's second-largest crude user.
Benchmark Brent crude rose 0.4 percent to $72.03 a barrel, after having hit its highest level since Nov.8 at 72.10 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.6 percent at $64.41 per barrel.
China's refinery throughput in March rose an 3.2 percent to 53.04 million tonnes, or 12.49 million barrels per day (bpd), official data showed today.
The data also revealed that Chinese GDP grew an annual 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019, unchanged from the fourth quarter and beating forecasts for 6.3 percent.
Retail sales climbed 8.7 percent year-on-year in March - beating expectations for an increase of 8.4 percent and up from 8.2 percent in February.
Fixed asset investment rose 6.3 percent in the first quarter, in line with expectations and up from 6.1 percent in the previous quarter.
OPEC-led output cuts and data showing a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude oil inventories also helped lift prices.
The inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) released on Tuesday showed that U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended April 12, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.7 million barrels.
Official data on U.S. inventories from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due to be released later in the day.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX