TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices gained more than 1% in early trade on Wednesday, led by U.S. crude after an industry group reported that U.S. stockpiles fell for a fourth week in a row, alleviating concerns about oversupply.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) WTI futures <Clc1> rose 90 cents, or 1.5%, to $58.73 by 0027 GMT. Brent <LCOc1> was up 69 cents, or 1.1%, at $64.85.
The U.S. and global benchmarks have risen this year as OPEC and big producers like Russia have honoured commitments to cut production and support prices.
But investors have been looking for signs that unrelenting production from the United States is being consumed, leading to inventory declines.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than forecast last week, while gasoline inventories decreased and distillate stocks built, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday. [API/S]
Crude inventories fell by 8.1 million barrels in the week to July 5 to 461.4 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 3.1 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 754,000 barrels, API said.
Figures are due later on Tuesday from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration and, if the official data confirms fall, it will also be the fourth consecutive weekly decline.
Oil prices have been under pressure from concerns about global economic growth amid growing signs of harm from the U.S.-China trade war that has rumbled on over the last year.
“Prices are finely balanced right now as investors await fresh stimulus,” said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com. “The stimulus could come in the form of a sharp change in U.S. crude oil inventories.”
Still, U.S. crude oil production is forecast to rise to a fresh record of 12.36 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 from the high of 10.96 million bpd last year, the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook said on Tuesday.
OPEC and allied producers led by Russia agreed last week to extend their supply-cutting deal until March 2020. Brent has risen nearly 20% in 2019, supported by the pact and tensions in the Middle East, especially the row over Iran’s nuclear programme.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Richard Pullin)