Oil prices little changed near 3-month highs

Oil prices on Friday were little changed, steadying near three-month highs as new data showed U.S. crude inventories dropped far more than expected. Yet, upbeat economic data and optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal fueled a year-end stock market rally.

Brent crude futures added 18 cents to trade at $68.10 per barrel hitting its highest level since mid-September. The West Texas Intermediate contract rose 4 cents to trade at $61.72 per barrel. WTI closed the week with a gain of over 2 percent, for the fourth straight positive week.

U.S. crude stocks dropped by 5.5 million barrels in the week to December 20 to 441.4 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. The figures were far exceeding analysts’ expectations of a 1.7 million-barrel fall.

“Inventories are bullish almost across the board,” said Josh Graves, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

Source: Reuters