Oil prices rise despite build in U.S. inventories

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices increased on Wednesday despite data showing a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery gained 1.33 U.S. dollars, or 1.72 percent, to settle at 78.47 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery added 1.4 dollars, or 1.67 percent, to close at 85.09 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday that the country's commercial crude oil inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels during the week ending Feb. 3. Analysts polled by S&P Global Commodity Insights had expected a rise of 2.1 million barrels in crude supplies.

According to the EIA, total motor gasoline inventories jumped by 5 million barrels last week, while distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels.

Oil prices continued to garner support from expectations of rising demand in China.

In its short-term energy outlook released on Tuesday, the EIA raised its crude oil demand and price forecast.

"We expect global liquid fuels consumption to increase by 1.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2023 and by 1.8 million b/d in 2024, driven primarily by growth in China and other non-OECD countries," said the EIA.

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