Despite a jump in U.S. crude stockpiles last week, crude oil prices moved up sharply on Wednesday amid expectations that OPEC and allies will significantly cut crude production, and on reports from China that the number of new infections due to the coronavirus has come down a bit.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.23, or about 2.5%, at $51.17 a barrel.

Brent crude futures advanced by about $1.75, or 3.3%, to $55.76 a barrel.

OPEC has cut its forecast for energy demand growth this year, citing the coronavirus outbreak. It said oil demand will grow by 990,000 barrels per day this year, about 230,000 barrels per day less than what was forecast earlier.

According to the data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning, crude stockpiles in the U.S. were up by 7.5 million barrels in the week ended February 7, more than three times the expected increase.

The EIA data also said gasoline inventories dropped by 95,000 barrels last week, as against expectations for a rise of 550,000 barrels. Meanwhile, distillate stockpiles were down by 2 million barrels, substantially higher than an expected drop of 560,000 barrels.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute released a report that said crude oil stockpiles rose by 6 million barrels last week.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com