Oil touches 8-week high as US supplies dwindle

OIL prices settled higher yesterday in choppy trading after a government report showed that gasoline stocks in the United States dropped unexpectedly.

But after reaching a fresh eight-week high of $83.03, oil prices pared some of their gains on profit-taking.

US crude for April delivery settled 60 cents higher at $81.81 per barrel.

London ICE Brent for April settled at $80.48, up 57 cents.

Gasoline stocks in the world’s largest energy market showed a surprise drop of 2.9m barrels to 229m barrels last week, the US Energy Information Administration reported.

And US commercial crude oil stockpiles rose 1.4m barrels to 343m barrels in the week to 5 March – below the 1.9m barrels rise forecast.