oil barrel

Brent crude remained steady today, supported by optimistic economic data from both the US and China, which raised demand outlook for fuel from the world’s two largest oil consumers.

Brent managed to stay above $113.04 a barrel, after sliding by 24 cents, while US crude dropped by 16 cents to $95.79, reported Reuters.

Oil prices received support after the manufacturing sector in the US and China in January witnessed their fastest growth in about two years.

Data showing a rise in the growth of Germany’s economy has also helped the prices stay steady.

The Energy Information Administration released data on Thursday, showing that US crude stockpiles increased last week due to a reduction in processing of oil by the country’s refineries.

Crude inventories jumped by 2.81 million barrels in the week to 18 January, against an earlier anticipation of a 1.8 million barrel rise.

On Wednesday, weekly inventories data showed that a significant drop in gasoline stocks boosted RBOB gasoline futures by around one percent.

In the US, the operator of the Seaway oil pipeline reduced the oil flow rate from Cushing to US Gulf Coast on Wednesday, by more than half to 175,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The 400,000bpd pipeline is aimed at easing the excess at the WTI contract’s delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The pipeline is expected to achieve its full capacity soon, while front-month US crude prices have experienced a seventh straight week of rises, despite a reduction in volume.

Image: In January, the manufacturing sector in the US and China witnessed its fastest growth in about two years. Photo courtesy of Lars Christopher Nøttaasen.