Investing.com - Oil prices held on to most of their gains on Wednesday, with the U.S. benchmark staying close to its best level since July 2015 after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles dropped last week.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.55 a barrel, up 72 cents, or about 1.2%, by 10:35AM ET (1535GMT). Prices were at around $57.70 prior to the release of the inventory data. It touched its highest level since July 2015 at $58.05 earlier in the session.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., rose 24 cents, or around 0.4%, to $62.83 a barrel.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories fell by 1.9 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 17. That compared with analysts' expectations for a decline of 1.5 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a supply-drop of 6.4 million barrels.
Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key delivery point for Nymex crude, decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week, the EIA said.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 457.1 million barrels as of last week, which the EIA considered to be at the upper half of the average range for this time of year.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.9 million barrels per day last week, down by 25,000 barrels per day from the previous week.
The report also showed that gasoline inventories remained largely unchanged, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.8 million barrels. For distillate inventories including diesel, the EIA reported a gain of 0.3 million barrels.
Oil prices ended higher on Tuesday amid expectations that oil producing countries will agree to extend an output cut at their meeting at the end of this month.
Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia is lobbying oil ministers to agree next week on a nine-month extension to OPEC-led supply cuts, sources familiar with the matter said, as Riyadh seeks to ensure a price-sapping glut is eradicated.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, has been restraining output since the start of this year in a bid to end a global supply overhang and prop up prices.
The deal to curb output is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss the outlook for the policy.
The report comes out one day ahead of its normal release time due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
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