Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday after official data showed a smaller than expected increase in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended February 14th.

However, oil’s rise was just modest as worries about the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global economy and energy demand continued to weigh on the commodity.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $0.49, or about 0.9%, at $53.78 a barrel, on the expiration day.

WTI Crude futures for April was gained $0.39, or about 0.7%, to $53.88 a barrel.

Brent crude futures moved up $0.47, or 0.8%, to $59.59 a barrel.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration this morning showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 414,000 barrels last week, much less than an expected 2.5 million barrel rise.

Gasoline inventories declined by about 2 million barrels last week, against forecasts for a rise of about 435,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles were down by 636,000 barrels in the week, much less than what was expected.

Markets also weighed supply risks after the Trump administration announced sanctions against a Russian oil firm, and tensions in Libya that led to a blockade of its ports.

Libya’s internationally recognized leader Fayez al-Serraj dashed hopes of reviving peace negotiations on Wednesday after the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar shelled the port of the capital, which is held by al-Serraj’s government.

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