Early Asian trading on Thursday saw oil prices increase, adding to their gains from the previous two sessions on optimism about the global economic recovery in the biggest oil importer, China, outweighed concerns about rising U.S. crude stockpiles.
Brent crude futures rose 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $84.35 a barrel at 10.21 A.M. (Thai time), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1 cents, or 0.01%, at $77.70 a barrel.
Both contracts increased by almost one percent in the previous session on reports that China’s manufacturing activity in February expanded at the highest pace in more than a decade, further bolstering speculation that the economy is on the recovery following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Gains in the stock market, however, were restrained by the United States adding crude oil inventory for a ninth consecutive week.
According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil stocks increased by 1.2 million barrels in the week ending February 24 to 480.2 million barrels, the highest level since May 2021.
In spite of this, the build was less than in previous weeks due to a record increase in U.S. crude oil exports, with shipments reaching 5.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, as reported by the EIA.