Crude prices rise as gasoline inventories still support

U.S. oil moved higher on Friday, as news of an unexpected draw in U.S. gasoline inventories continued to support the commodity despite a rise in crude stockpiles.

U.S. crude futures for March delivery were up 1.25% at $53.67 a barrel, the highest since February 6.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, the April Brent contract jumped 1.47% to trade at $56.44 a barrel, also the highest level since February 6.

Oil prices remained supported after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that gasoline inventories fell by 869,000 barrels last week to 256.2 million barrels, versus analyst expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel gain.

However, the EIA report also showed that U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 13.8 million barrels to 508.6 million barrels, underlining concerns over ample domestic supplies.

The commodity has also been underpinned by OPEC and non-OPEC countries’ strong start to lowering their oil output under the first such pact in more than a decade as global producers look to reduce oversupply and support prices.

January 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

If carried out as planned, the deal should reduce global supply by about 2%.