Oil stabilises as surprise US crude draw offsets rate hike jitters
Oil prices steadied in early Asian trade on Wednesday as industry data showed a draw in U.S. crude oil inventories, after the market tumbled in the previous session on fears more aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes would hit demand.
Brent crude futures for April gained 8 cents to $83.37 per barrel by 0120 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 4 cents to $77.54 a barrel.
Supporting the market on Wednesday, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude inventories fell by about 3.8 million barrels in the week ended March 3, according to market sources.
The drawdown defied forecasts for a 400,000 barrel rise in crude stocks from nine analysts polled by Reuters.
Gasoline inventories rose by about 1.8 million barrels, while distillate stocks rose by about 1.9 million barrels, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Both Brent and WTI fell more than 3% on Tuesday after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that the central bank would likely need to raise interest rates more than expected in response to recent strong data.
“This raised concerns of weaker demand in the U.S.,” ANZ Research analysts said in a note to clients.
Powell’s comments propelled the U.S. dollar, which typically trades inversely with oil, to hit a three-month high against a basket of currencies.
The dollar index rose as high as 105.65, up 1.3% on Tuesday and the highest since Dec. 6. The euro dropped 1.28% to $1.0548.
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