Oil prices rise ahead of U.S. inventory data

NEW YORK, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices advanced on Tuesday as traders awaited data on U.S. fuel stockpiles.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery added 39 cents, or 0.54 percent, to settle at 73.20 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery rose 53 cents, or 0.68 percent, to close at 78.65 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The move followed a rally Monday on oil market, which saw the WTI and Brent surge 5.13 percent and 4.17 percent, respectively.

Prices garnered support from a strong rebound in Chinese oil demand.

Also lending buoyancy to oil was easing worries about a banking crisis in the United States and Europe.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly petroleum status report on Wednesday. On average, analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal expect the publication to show a rise of 300,000 barrels in U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles for the week ending March 24.

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