Oil gained more ground on Wednesday as a U.S. coronavirus fiscal aid package and a decline in crude oil inventories lifted prices.
Brent crude futures rose 19 cents, or 0.4%, to $51.28 a barrel, by 0255 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 29 cents, or 0.6%, to $48.29.
“Oil prices have remained supported by a weaker U.S. dollar overnight and have finally found a friend in the API inventory report,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, a broker.
“This morning the American Petroleum Institute reported a much larger draw versus consensus in crude oil inventories for the week ending December 25.”
Oil prices could gain strength as vaccination programs around the world begin next year, allowing countries to relax restrictions on movement and business activity.
U.S. physical crude oil grades strengthened on Tuesday as the API reported a decline in stockpiles, dealers said.
Crude oil stocks fell by 4.8 million barrels last week to about 492.9 million barrels, exceeding analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a draw of 2.6 million barrels, data from API showed.