Oil prices jumped on a surprise draw down of U.S. crude inventories of 5.25 million barrels in today’s report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Analysts had been looking for an increase of 2.1 million barrels in U.S. inventories.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Crude finished the day up 2.25% to $51.42 a barrel. The international Brent benchmark climbed 1.66% to $52.54. Gasoline inventories, a key refined product, climbed 2.47 million barrels. Analysts had projected a draw down of 1.32 million barrels.
Adding fuel to the advance were remarks from Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih: Oil markets were at the end of a considerable downturn, he said, and fundamentals are improving and supply/demand is re-balancing.
The next market moving numbers for oil come on Friday with the Baker Hughes rig count. The U.S. rig count has climbed for the last 16 consecutive weeks.