Oil held gains above $71 a barrel after government data showed crude and fuel inventories in the U.S. fell ahead of the summer driving season.
Oil has extended a rally this month to the highest level in more than three years as escalating tensions in the Middle East raised concerns over supply disruptions. Even though the U.S. continues boosting crude production to record levels, the IEA said a global glut has been finally eliminated thanks to output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.
West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery traded at $71.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 16 cents, at 8:36 a.m. Singapore time. The contract climbed 18 cents to $71.49 on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 14 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for July settlement fell 4 cents to $79.24 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after adding 85 cents on Wednesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a $7.54 premium to WTI for July.
Source : Bloomberg