West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark climbed to a one-month high of $54.58 on Thursday ahead of supportive data showing a smaller weekly build in U.S. crude inventories than thought.
In weekly U.S. supply-demand data, the U.S. Energy Information reported that crude stockpiles rose by just 414,000 barrels last week, compared with expectations from analysts for a build of about 2.5 million barrels.
It was the fourth-straight weekly build in crude inventories that had added some 15 million barrels to the count.
Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak’s remarks that he saw no need for OPEC and its allies to bring forward their scheduled March 5-6 meeting to discuss a 600,000 bpd production cut pushed forcefully by Saudi Arabia.
The OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, is unlikely to proceed with the cut without Moscow’s cooperation.
Elsewhere, the coronavirus’ spread beyond China with two reported two deaths in Japan and South Korea confirmed its first fatality from the disease, even as China cited a slowdown in new cases.
With the extended target at $54.50 reached, now puts the outlook neutral and instead wait for a better opportunity as the market may stage a pull-back, with the immediate support is located from $52.50, with $51.00-40 viewed beneath.