U.S. oil prices rose to a four-week high Wednesday after a government report showed U.S. stockpiles of crude oil fell for a second straight week, and a measurement of fuel demand hit a record high.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery ended 1.4% higher at $69.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is the highest closing value since July 30. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 1.6% to $77.14 a barrel.
Crude oil stockpiles in the U.S. fell by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 24, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report, while inventories of processed fuels such as gasoline and distillates also declined. Analysts weren’t expecting to see such a large drawdown in crude oil given the summer driving season is ending and refineries are heading into maintenance season, which means the plants can’t take in as much oil for processing.
The EIA report also showed motor gasoline supplied to the market, which investors use to gauge U.S. fuel demand, bullishly climbed by 446,000 barrels a day compared with the previous week, to 9.9 million barrels a day. That is the highest weekly number in data going back to 1991.