Forexpros â€“ Crude oil futures were up on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep rates at ultra-low levels for an extended period, while industry data showed that U.S. oil supplies fell the most since June last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at USD81.98 a barrel during European morning trade, gaining 0.85%.
It earlier rose as much as 1.6% to trade at a daily high of USD82.67 a barrel.
The Federal Reserve pledged on Tuesday to keep its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low, adding that it will maintain a loose monetary policy until “at least through mid-2013.”
The Fed also indicated that it “discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a strong economic outlook recovery in a context of price stability” and said it was prepared to employ the tools “as appropriate”.
The statement fueled speculation the central bank may embark on a third round of quantitative easing, after the second round of bond purchases concluded at the end of June.
Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies declined by 5.2 million barrels last week, the most since June, while gasoline stockpiles decreased 1.0 million barrels, easing concerns over a slowdown in demand from the world’s largest oil consumer.
Energy traders have been closely eyeing gasoline stockpiles in recent weeks to gauge the strength of demand as the U.S. driving season was in its peak gasoline demand period.
Later in the day, the U.S. Energy Department was to release its closely-watched crude oil inventories report for the week ended August 5.
The data was expected to show that U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 1.5 million barrels, while gasoline supplies were forecast to rise by 0.9 million barrels.
Also Wednesday, the International Energy Agency warned that global oil demand growth could more than halve if the global economy grew slower than expected in 2012.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for September delivery jumped 1.25% to trade at USD106.03 a barrel, up USD24.05 on its U.S. counterpart.