Oil prices rose more than 2% on Wednesday and hit their highest in about a month, buoyed by U.S. government data that showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks as exports hit a record high, and surprise drops in refined product stockpiles.
Brent crude futures gained $1.43, or 2.2%, to $66.48 a barrel by 1:21 p.m. EDT (1721 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.57, or 2.7%, to $59.40 a barrel.
Crude inventories fell 12.8 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, far surpassing analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.5 million barrels. That was the most since September 2016, according to the statistical arm of the Department of Energy.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd). Overall crude exports rose to 3.8 million bpd, beating its previous record of 3.6 million bpd in February.
“A lot of this drawdown is due to strong demand,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “We’re finally seeing the impact of OPEC production cuts and starting to see Venezuelan cuts.”
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