Global crude oil prices edged up on improved economic outlook as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout gathers momentum globally, in addition to a drawdown in US fuel stocks.

Brent crude oil futures for May jumped by $0.40, or 0.6%, to reach $68.30 a barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate crude for April increased by $0.48, or 0.7%, to settle at $64.92, reported Reuters.

Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes was reported by the news agency as saying: “Gasoline stocks fell, which provided the bullish offset and eventually sent oil prices higher on the strong demand for end products, hence an economic recovery.”

“Given the powerful signals from the US re-opening narrative, it still suggests that the path of least resistance for oil prices is higher.”

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that US gasoline stocks dropped by 11.9 million barrels to 231.6 million barrels in the week ending 5 March, compared to an anticipated drop by 3.5 million barrels.

Crude oil inventories edged up by 13.8 million barrels to 498.4 million barrels in the week to 5 March. In a Reuters poll, analysts expected a rise of 816,000 barrels.

On 10 March, the US House of Representatives gave final approval on the $1.9tn Covid-19 relief bill, one of the largest economic stimulus measures in America.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said the government will undertake deterrent action to protect oil facilities in the country following the recent attack on its energy sites by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi forces.