UPDATE 6-Oil hits 6-week high on inventory data, Middle East worries

From Reuters - March 21, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil hit a six-week high on Wednesday after a surprise decline in U.S. inventories and as concern persisted over possible disruption to Middle East supply.

Data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday morning showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel draw in crude inventories. Analysts had expected a 2.5 million barrel build.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up $1.47, or 2.2 percent, at $68.89 per barrel by 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT). Brent has risen by 11.5 percent since hitting a two-month low of $61.77 in early February.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up $1.89, or 1.9 percent, at $64.74 a barrel.

A few things happened, said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, referring to the data released by the EIA.

Crude imports dropped by half a million barrels per day, that contributed to the draw. We saw refinery runs increase more than expected by around 400,000 barrels per day so that ate up a lot of crude. And exports were up slightly, he said.

Saudi Arabias Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday arrived in Washington, raising speculation the United States could reimpose sanctions on Iran, following renewed criticism of the 2015 nuclear deal.


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