Oil prices were little changed on Wednesday as a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude stocks offset worries about rising COVID-19 cases in top oil importer China, Reuters reported.
Brent crude futures rose 8 cents, or 0.1%, to $80.07 per barrel by 0715 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 1 cent to $76.22.
U.S. crude inventories fell by about 3.1 million barrels in the week to Dec. 16, according to market sources citing data from the American Petroleum Institute, while nine analysts polled by Reuters had estimated a 1.7 million barrel drop in stocks.
Gasoline inventories rose by about 4.5 million barrels, while distillate stocks rose by 828,000 barrels, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“A larger-than-expected draw in U.S. inventories, coupled with U.S. plans to refill their Strategic Petroleum Reserve have supported oil prices,” Reuters quoted Serena Huang, head of APAC analysis at Vortexa.
“But optimism has been capped by downside pressures from rising global economic headwinds and the recent surge in China’s COVID cases,” Huang added.