Oil prices push closer to $50, U.S. crude hits highest in seven months
Oil futures pushed closer to $50 a barrel on Wednesday, with U.S. crude hitting its highest in over seven months after industry data suggested a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories last week, according to Reuters.
Oil markets were also supported by an overnight surge in U.S. equities and strong home sales that could point to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates as early as June, as reported by Reuters.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 had climbed 56 cents to $49.18 a barrel by 04:46 GMT, after ending the previous session up 54 cents. The benchmark earlier on Wednesday touched its highest since mid-October at $49.35.
Brent futures LCOc1 rose 47 cents to $49.08 a barrel, having closed up 26 cents to snap a four-day slide in the previous session.
Read alsoReuters: Iran has no plans to freeze oil exportsU.S. crude stocks dropped by 5.1 million barrels to 536.8 million last week, which was double expectations of analysts polled by Reuters.
Oil prices were buoyed by a rise in U.S. stocks, with the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite all closing up.
Oil prices shrugged off the impact from a strong U.S. dollar which hovered close to a 10-week high against the euro in Asian trade on Wednesday.
A strong dollar typically makes greenback-denominated oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.