Oil Prices Hike as Crude Stocks Drop

Petroleum prices rose on Wednesday after a sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories, with the market waiting for more direction from a meeting later in the day on the future level of production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.

Brent crude futures were up 56 cents, or 1.3%, at $43.46 U.S. a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 63 cents, or 1.6%, to $40.93 a barrel.

In a sign of improving demand despite the coronavirus pandemic, statistics released by the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude inventories fell by 8.3 million barrels in the week to July 10, beating analysts’ expectations for a decline of 2.1 million barrels.

Statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday.

On supply, the market will be closely watching OPEC's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee later on Wednesday.

Key members of OPEC and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, are set to decide whether to extend output cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) that end in July or ease them to 7.7 million bpd.