Nationwide crude inventories increased by 1.16 million barrels last week despite expectations for a decline, and gasoline stockpiles hit a 10-month high, government data showed on January 8.
The attack killed a top Iranian general and prompted an Iranian rocket attack on Iraqi airbases hosting U.S. forces, sending crude to its highest in four months. Less than four months ago, half of Saudi Arabia's production capacity was temporarily disabled in a missile strike - which the US blames on Iran but the Islamic Republic refutes - a stark reminder of the vulnerability of facilities in the region that supplies about a third of the world's oil.
The U.S. Brent crude futures were dipped by 4.1 percent at 5 cents for $65.40 per barrel early hours on Wednesday while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures surged slightly up 1 cent to $59.63 per barrel after falling almost 5 percent previous trading sessions. The retaliatory strikes by Iranian forces targeted American military equipment, not its troops, according to a Far news agency report, citing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Aerospace Force Commander.
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Crude inventories in the United States rose unexpectedly last week and gasoline inventories surged by their most in a week in four years, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
In a significant development, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a resolution that would force President Trump to seek consent from Congress before taking new military action against Iran.
JP Morgan maintained its forecast for Brent to average $64.50 a barrel this year.
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Also an unexpected increase in the crude oil inventories in the US has resulted in a drop in oil prices.
"Top oil producers led by Saudi Arabia have agreed to reduce output by as much as 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) through the first quarter of 2020". Brent crude futures moved up and down in early European trading after a 4.1% fall on Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery fell 10 cents to $59.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 7:13 a.m.in London.
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WTI was down 50 cents, or 0.82%, at $59.06 and also on track for a first weekly drop in six, almost 6% from last Friday's close based on the latest prices. Historically, Crude oil prices had reached an all-time high of 147.27 in July 2008.