Oil prices jumped Wednesday after data showed an unexpectedly large drop in crude oil inventories last week. According to reports, inventories tumbled 9.6 million barrels in the week ended March 15.
Oil prices also reacted to the latest FOMC decision and statement Wednesday afternoon. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged following its two-day monetary policy meeting, as expected. But it also now indicated interest rates are likely to remain unchanged for the remainder of the year.
Earlier projections had indicated as many as two rate hikes before the end of the year, but the downward rate revision points to an expected slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter of this year while inflation remains comfortable.
The Fed's now projection sent the U.S. dollar lower and oil prices higher.
Global benchmark Brent crude climbed 77 cents or 1.14 percent to $68.19 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures advanced 87 cents or 1.47 percent at $60.16 per barrel.