Crude oil futures ended modestly higher on Thursday as prices recovered sharply from the day’s lows, amid optimism energy demand will pick up gradually.
Traders continued to weigh the latest inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that showed a drop of over 5 million barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week ended June 4.
Gasoline inventories rose by 7.05 million barrels last week, while stockpiles of distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 4.4 million barrels, the EIA said in its report. That indicated weaker-than-expected fuel demand at the start of the summer.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up by $0.33 or about 0.5% at $70.29 a barrel, rallying from a low of $68.68 a barrel.
Brent crude futures were up $0.25 or 0.35% at $72.47 a barrel a little while ago.
Oil prices saw volatile swings, reacting to reports that said the U.S. has lifted sanctions on some Iranian officials and a couple of firms said to have been involved in trading Iranian petrochemical products.
Later in the day, a U.S. official is reported to have said that the activity was “routine” and not related to talks with Iran on the nuclear deal issue.