Crude oil futures advanced in early Asian trading, piling unto gains from the prior session after official government data showed U.S. fuel stockpiles declined more than anticipated.
Brent crude futures traded up 8 cents or 0.15 percent higher, at $52.78 per barrel. The international benchmark ended up 1.1 percent up on Wednesday, ending two days of declines.
Meanwhile, U.S. WTI crude rose by 8 cents or 0.2 percent at $49.64 per barrel after advancing 0.8 percent in the prior session.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell in the previous week as refineries stepped up their production to the highest capacity level in 12 years, according to the EIA’s latest report. U.S. fuel inventories slid 6.5 million barrels in the previous week, according to official data, a steeper drop than the expected decline of 2.7 million barrels.
EIA also reported refiners processed almost 17.6 million barrels of crude. The figures topped a record hit in May and it its the highest for any week since the start of the record.
However, an unexpected increase in gasoline inventories limited the gain in oil prices and cooled attempts by OPEC and other crude producers to bolster the historically low oil prices.
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