21.07.202110:08:00UTC+00Oil Prices Climb In Volatile Trade

Oil prices rose on Wednesday to extend gains from the previous session as improved risk appetite in equity markets helped offset data showing a rise in U.S. inventories.

Benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 1.2 percent to $70.20 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were up 1.2 percent at $68.02.

Oil reversed early losses to trade higher as European equities climbed a second day and U.S. stock futures edged higher on optimism over economic and earnings growth.

Futures dipped earlier in the day after the American Petroleum Institute reported an unexpected build-up in U.S. oil inventories last week.

U.S. crude stocks reportedly rose by 806,000 barrels for the week that ended July 16. If confirmed by the Energy Information Administration later in the day, that would be the first weekly increase since May.

Investors remain concerned about weakening demand outlook as COVID-19 continued its rampage through Asia, with South Korea and Thailand reporting record infections and Australia's two largest states reporting sharp increases in new virus cases.

In Japan, the government's top COVID-19 advisor said new cases in Tokyo could hit a record in early August, before the end of the Olympics.

Elsewhere, a White House official and a staff member for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.

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