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Jim Hyerczyk

Jim Hyerczyk

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Oil Prices Supported By Shrinking Inventories

Cushing

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures traded in a sideways-to-lower range early in the week, but momentum shifted on Thursday, driving prices to their highest levels in two weeks.

The movement in the U.S. Dollar had the most impact on the markets, but there was enough meat on the bones of the government’s weekly inventories report to generate some upside volatility.

A rising U.S. Dollar put pressure on demand for dollar-denominated crude at times. The dollar was supported by the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January monetary policy meeting which showed policymakers are confident in the need to keep raising interest rates throughout the year.

In other news, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly dropped by 907,000 barrels to 420.3 million barrels for the week to February 16. Analysts had expected a small build of 1.333 million barrels in crude oil inventories.

The API added that gasoline inventories posted a build of 1.468 million barrels, slightly higher than the 1.229-million-barrel forecast. Distillate inventories saw a fairly large draw of 3.563 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a smaller decline of 1.633-million-barrels.

Prices were boosted on Thursday by data showing a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell 1.6…

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