TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose from the previous day after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected last week, but larger-than-expected increases in gasoline and distillate inventories limited gains.
Crude futures were up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $77.88 a barrel by 0138 GMT, and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $72.53 a barrel.
Both benchmarks rose about two percent on Tuesday amid the Middle East crisis and a disruption in Libyan supplies.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. inventories fell 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 5, compared with analysts' estimates of a 700,000-barrel increase in a Reuters poll.
However, gasoline inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels and 6.9 million distillates, beating expectations for increases of 2.5 million and 2.4 million.
Data from the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the US Department of Energy, is scheduled to be released on Wednesday (1530 GMT).
Regarding supplies, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday that U.S. crude oil production will reach record levels over the next two years, but will grow at a slower rate.
In the Middle East, on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged the Palestinian Authority to take “tough decisions” to normalize relations with many of its neighbors in a new call to ease the path to establishing a Palestinian state.
Investors are trying to get clues about when the Federal Reserve (U.S. central bank) might start cutting interest rates. Expectations that the bank might do so collapsed in March.
(Prepared by Ali Khafaji for Arabic Bulletin)
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