Oil prices gained on Wednesday in Asia after the release of weekly data that showed a decline in U.S. crude stockpile.
Crude inventories fell by 6 million barrels in the week ended July 26 to 443 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a decrease of 2.6 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institutedata showed.
Gasoline stocks fell by 3.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 1.4 million-barrel decline.
The gains also came as traders await the expected first rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve in a decade.
The Federal Open Market Committee is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday and is expected to cut its federal funds rate to 2% to 2.25% on Wednesday. The rate is now 2.25% to 2.5%.
Central bank policy easing is expected to put the brakes on a global economic slowdown and underpin demand for oil.
“A Fed rate cut will offer substantial wiggle room for other central banks to lower interest rates and it’s the thought of this concerted policy effort that is providing the springboard for oil prices,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets.