Oil prices rose on Wednesday after industry data showed a surprise drop in U.S. crude stocks, suggesting demand is holding up despite steep interest rate hikes dampening global growth.
Brent crude rose 54 cents, or 0.6%, to $95.19 a barrel by 0723 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 72 cents, or 0.8%, to $89.09 a barrel.
The benchmarks rose about 2% in the previous session on a weaker U.S. dollar and after an unverified note trending on social media said the Chinese government was going to consider ways to relax COVID-19 rules from March 2023, potentially boosting demand in the world’s No.2 oil user.
In a further positive sign for demand, U.S. crude oil stocks fell by about 6.5 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 28, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures.
Eight analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected crude inventories to rise by 400,000 barrels.
At the same time, gasoline inventories fell more than expected, with stockpiles down by 2.6 million barrels compared with analysts’ forecasts for a drawdown of 1.4 million barrels.