Crude oil prices moved higher on Wednesday, following a rally in gasoline futures due to a decline in weekly gasoline inventories.
Optimism about the passage of the massive $2 trillion stimulus bill also contributed to oil’s rise in the session.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended up $0.48, or about 2%, at $24.49 a barrel.
Brent crude futures gained about $0.30, or 1%, at $27.45 a barrel.
Data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose by 1.6 million barrels for the week ended March 20, against expectations for a 2.8 million barrels increase.
The data showed gasoline inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels, more than twice the expected drop, while distillate stockpiles were lower by about 680,000 barrels, compared with an expected drop of 1.9 million barrels.
The EIA report also said overall fuel demand fell by nearly 2.1 million barrels per day.
Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday that there was a decline of 1.25 million barrels of crude oil held in storage for the week ending on March 20. Expectations were for a surplus of 2.774-million barrel.
U.S. Senate leaders and White House officials have finally reached an agreement on a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package intended to provide economic relief during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the deal in the early morning hours on Wednesday, with a vote on the bill expected later in the afternoon.