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Oil prices increase with ease in demand concerns

Large inventory draw signals recovery in crude demand in US, easing investor concerns over dwindling demand

Oil prices increased on Thursday, supported by a drop in US crude oil inventories easing demand concerns.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $102.71 per barrel at 08.45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT) for a 1.02% increase after closing at $101.67 a barrel in previous trade.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $98.33 per barrel at the same time for a 1.10% gain after closing the previous session at $97.26 a barrel.

Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed on Wednesday that US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by around 4.5 million barrels to 422.1 million barrels, exceeding the market expectation of a 4.03-million barrel fall.

The large inventory draw signals a recovery in crude demand in the US,easing investor concerns over dwindling demand, which, in turn, supports higher prices.

Meanwhile, Russia reduced its gas export level via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany from 40% to 20% of capacity, which analysts believe could raise oil prices if buyers turn to oil to replace gas.

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