Oil maintains stability as surprise US crude draw counters concerns about rate increases

Early on Wednesday in Asian trading, oil prices stabilized as industry data revealed a reduction in U.S. crude oil stocks. The market had fallen the previous session over concerns that more aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes would hurt demand. The price of a barrel of April Brent crude futures increased by 8 cents to $83.37.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for the United States fell 4 cents to $77.54 a barrel. Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that U.S. oil stockpiles decreased by around 3.8 million barrels in the week ending March 3, according to market sources, supporting the market on Wednesday.

The decrease went against nine analysts surveyed by Reuters who had predicted a boost in crude stock of 400,000 barrels. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that gasoline inventories increased by roughly 1.8 million barrels and distillate stocks increased by about 1.9 million barrels.

Tuesday saw more than 3% declines in Brent and WTI as a result of remarks made by Jerome Powell, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, who said that the central bank will probably need to hike interest rates more than anticipated in response to recent positive data. This sparked worries about weakening U.S. demand, according to analysts at ANZ Research in a letter to clients.

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