Investing.com - Oil prices rose on Thursday morning in Asia after an inventory report showed U.S. crude and gasoline stocks fell more than expected.
Crude Oil WTI Futures for June delivery were trading at $71.77 a barrel at 11:30PM ET (03:30 GMT), up 0.39%. Brent Oil Futures for July delivery, traded in London, were up 0.16% at $79.41 per barrel.
Shanghai Crude Oil WTI Futures for September delivery were up 1.43% at 480.90 yuan ($75.61) per barrel.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly report, U.S. crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to May 11, compared with analyst expectations for a 763,000 barrel decrease. U.S. gasoline stocks fell 3.79 million barrels. Analysts had expected a 1.42 million barrel decline.
Meanwhile, looming U.S. sanctions against Iran, which currently produces 4% of global oil supplies, raised fears that oil markets will face shortages later this year when trade restrictions take effect.
In Venezuela, production also plunged to 1.5 million barrels last month, its lowest level in decades due to its ongoing economic crisis.
Traders are also worried that near-record high refinery runs in China may be short-lived. China’s refinery runs rose nearly 12% in April from a year earlier, to around 12.1 million barrels per day (bpd), marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis.
Oil prices have surged more than 70% over the last year as demand has risen sharply while production has been restricted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and other producers, including Russia.
The tightening market has all but eliminated a global supply overhang which depressed crude prices between late 2014 and early 2017.
The International Energy Agency warned global demand is likely to moderate this year as crude prices near $80 a barrel and many key importing countries no longer offer consumers generous fuel subsidies.