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Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories, but demand concerns amid record increases in COVID-19 infections in some USstates capped gains.
Brent crude futures rose 59 cents, or 1.4%, to $43.81 a barrel by 1216 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 47 cents, or 1.2%, to $41.51 a barrel.
Inventories of crude oil in the United States dropped by 6.8 million barrels last week to 531 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
Analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll were for an increase of 357,000 barrels. US government data is due later on Wednesday.
"A relief of 6.8 million barrels could normally help prices rise even further, but concerns over a new supply glut coming from August are capping gains," Rystad Energy's head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen said.
The pandemic is keeping alive concerns about falling fuel demand causing an oversupplied market as record numbers of coronavirus infections are reported globally, including in the United States, the world's biggest consumer of oil.
"The virus is spreading like wildfire across the Americas while Europe and Asia are displaying worrying signs of a second surge in cases," Stephen Brennock of oil brokerage PVM said.
Six U.S. states reported one-day records for coronavirus deaths on Tuesday and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark.
Indian refiners are cutting crude processing and shutting units for maintenance amid faltering fuel demand, officials at the companies said.
Attempts to provide relief amid the outbreak were in disarray as Republicans in the US disagreed over their own plan for providing $1 trillion in new coronavirus aid on Tuesday.
Analysts are concerned about the risks to any US recovery, while a new Federal Reserve policy statement due to be released later on Wednesday afternoon will show how seriously central bankers assess them.
Brent crude fell 35 cents, or 0.8%, to $43.97 a barrel by 0541 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 39 cents, or 0.9%, to $41.53.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures eased 4 cents, or 0.1% to $40.97 a barrel at 0655 GMT, while Brent crude futures fell 11 cents, or 0.3% to $44.04 a barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 12 cents, or 0.3%, to $41.57 a barrel at 04:36 GMT, while Brent crude futures rose 9 cents, or 0.2%, to $43.89 a barrel.
Asian shares rose on Wednesday after a strong lead from Wall Street fuelled by hopes for additional U.S. economic stimulus and a coronavirus vaccine, but trade was choppy as some investors booked profits.
Healthy off-take on the back of festive season accelerated major automobile players’ year-on-year sales during November. However, some companies reported a slower off-take on the sequential basis.
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