Oil Prices On March, Despite Higher Inventories

Petroleum prices rose on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session as improved risk appetite provided support despite data showing an unexpected rise in U.S. oil inventories last week and a weaker demand outlook due to rising COVID-19 infections.

Brent crude futures gained $2.06, or 3%, to trade at $71.40 U.S. per barrel, having hit a session low of $68.63 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.13, or 3.2%, to trade at $69.33 a barrel, after falling to $66.44 a barrel earlier on Wednesday.

Oil prices dropped on Monday following a deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together known as OPEC+, to boost supply by 400,000 bpd each month from August through December. The sell-off was exacerbated by fears that a rise in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in major markets like the United States, Britain and Japan will affect demand.

A potential rise in U.S. inventories weighed on prices earlier in the session.

U.S. crude stocks rose by 806,000 barrels for the week that ended July 16, according to American Petroleum Institute figures.

Analysts were expecting a large fall in inventories.