Oil gains as US gasoline demand rises for second week

Crude oil prices were up on Thursday as gasoline inventories in the US showed another decline last week, signaling gasoline demand is on the rise in the country.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $29.79 per barrel at 0555 GMT for a 0.23% increase after closing Wednesday at $29.72 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $24.13 a barrel at the same time for a 0.58% rise after ending the previous day at $23.99 per barrel.

Gasoline inventories in the US showed a decline of 3.2 million barrels, or 1.2%, to 256.4 million barrels for the week ending May 1, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

This marked the second successive weekly decline for gasoline stocks after they fell by 3.7 million barrels during the previous week.

The decline in stocks shows that gasoline demand in the world's biggest oil consumer is on the rise, providing some support for crude prices.

However, crude prices continue to stay under pressure from weak global oil demand due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The gradual softening on COVID-19 quarantine measures in some Asian and European countries, on top of oil production cuts from OPEC+ countries, continue to support crude prices.

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