Oil prices rose as much as 4% in Wednesday midday trading, amid a larger than expected fall in U.S. oil inventories reported by the EIA in its weekly report. However, prices remained close to multi-year lows as oversupply persists and as OPEC lowered the demand outlook for its oil in a report released earlier Wednesday.
The oil inventory data caused both WTI and Brent to rise a session high, with the U.S. benchmark was up $1.54 (4.26%) at $37.68, while Brent was up $1.26 (3.49%) at $37.37.
The EIA reported Wednesday morning that oil stockpiles dropped by 5.9 million barrels in the last week, versus expectations of a rise of 1.1 million barrels. Crude stockpiles at Cushing increased by 2 million barrels, the agency said.
Gasoline stockpiles increased by 1.1 million barrels, the EIA said, and distillate inventories dropped by 661,000 barrels, compared to expectations for a 2.0 million barrels increase.
WTI futures was trading above Brent on Wednesday, a pattern rarely seen over the last five years. On Tuesday, Brent settled below WTI for the first time since August 2010, touching $35.98 on an intraday basis, its lowest level since July 2004.