Oil prices rally for second day

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rose on Thursday, extending the gains they had scored in the prior session.

The West Texas Intermediate for September delivery added 2.39 U.S. dollars, or 2.7 percent, to settle at 90.50 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for October delivery increased 2.94 dollars, or 3.1 percent, to close at 96.59 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

A marked drop in U.S. crude inventories lent buoyancy to oil prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday that the nation's crude oil inventories decreased by 7.1 million barrels during the week ending Aug. 12. Analysts polled by S&P Global Commodity Insights had expected a fall of 1.7 million barrels in U.S. crude stocks.

The EIA publication also showed that total motor gasoline inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels last week, while distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels.

On Wednesday, the U.S. crude benchmark and Brent rose 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

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