Oil hits three-year highs
LONDON, January 25, 2018 – Crude oil prices climbed to fresh three-year highs on Thursday, as news of another weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories added to overall optimism over the rebalancing of the market.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude March contract was up 67 cents or about 1.02% at $66.28 a barrel by 04:00 a.m. ET (08:00 GMT), the highest since December 2014.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London gained 45 cents or about 0.61% at $70.95 a barrel, also the highest since December 2014.
Oil prices were boosted after the Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories declined by 1.1 million barrels in the week ending January 19 to 411.58 million barrels.
The commodity was already supported after the International Monetary Fund on Monday revised its forecast for world economic growth to 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019, a 0.2% increase from its last update in October.
Prices have been broadly underpinned by supply restrictions led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, which started last year and are set to last throughout 2018.
However, analysts and traders have recently warned that U.S. shale oil producers could ramp up production in the coming weeks as they look to take advantage of higher prices, potentially derailing an OPEC-led effort to curb excess supply.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures eased up 0.09% to $1.923 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 0.91% to $3.541 per million British thermal units.