Crude-oil prices headed higher Thursday for a second session, as values continued to garner support from a bullish report on U.S. stockpiles this week.
The Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels for the week ended June 26, coming after three consecutive weeks of increases.
Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had forecast an average crude supply decline of 2.7 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a fall of 8.2 million barrels. The EIA data also showed crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub edged down by about 200,000 barrels for the week.
“Yesterday’s crude stockpile relief news in the US was not a one-off event that traders forgot. A huge drop in inventories, much higher than most of the market expected, is clearly a booster factor,” wrote Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, in a Thursday report.
Energy markets have also been keying in on increases in cases of COVID-19, with the U.S. hitting a single-day record of infections of more than 52,000, injecting some concern into crude markets about the impact of protocols to limit the spread on the economy and oil uptake.
On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude for August CLQ20, +1.00% rose 25 cents, or 0.8%, at $40.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after gaining 1.4% on Wednesday. For the week, oil is on pace for a weekly gain of 4.1%, thus far.
Meanwhile, global benchmark Brent oil for September BRNU20, +1.11% picked up 31 cents, or 0.7%, at $42.34 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, after a 1.8% rally in the previous session. Brent oil is on track for a 3.4% weekly advance.
Energy markets also will parse U.S. jobs data to glean insights about the outlook for the American economy and the potential for crude demand.