NEW YORK, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Crude oil futures prices gained for the third day in a row on Wednesday due to the substantial decrease of U.S. oil inventories in the previous week.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for July delivery picked up 1.43 U.S. dollars, or 1.96 percent, to settle at 74.34 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for July delivery went up 1.52 U.S. dollars, or 1.98 percent, to settle at 78.36 U.S. dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventory posted a deep week-on-week drop of 12.5 million barrels in the week ending May 19 in contrast with expectation of slight rise, according to data issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Moreover, U.S. gasoline and distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels and 0.6 million barrels last week, respectively.
The oil inventory data issued by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday also showed big drops last week, which drove up oil prices in the overnight market.
Oil prices are higher on Wednesday as data showed U.S. inventories and fuel supplies tightening, and as the Saudi energy minister warned speculators, raising the prospect of further output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners, noted James Hyerczyk, senior market analyst with market information supplier FX Empire.