Jessica Dye in New York
February 14, 2018
Oil was back in positive territory on Wednesday after data showed US crude stockpiles building less than expected, helping to ease some of the pressures that have weighed on prices over the past few weeks.
After a US Energy Information Administration report showed that US crude stockpiles rose by 1.8m barrels in the past week — less than the 2.8m barrels that analysts were expecting — a barrel of West Texas Intermediate, the US standard, was up almost 0.4 per cent to $59.43 a barrel. Brent, the international benchmark, gained 0.61 per cent to $63.10.
Oil prices were pressured earlier in the day after data showed US inflation grew more than expected. That in turn helped lift the US dollar, which tends to track in the opposite direction of oil, which is traded internationally in dollars.
But as investors digested the inflation data, the dollar has given up some of its gains, with the dollar index — measuring the buck against a basket of peers — now down 0.5 per cent on the day to 89.31, after previously trading as high as 90.12.
Also working in oil’s favour, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said earlier on Wednesday that Opec and allies outside of the cartel, including Russia, would stick with agreed production cuts rather than unwinding the deal before the market was ready.
Oil recently notched its biggest weekly drop in two years, as concerns grow about rising US shale production and how that might tip the scales of global supply and pricing.