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Oil posts another 8-week high, closing at $49.04, boosted by falling US crude stockpiles

Oil prices rose to new 8-week highs on Thursday, buoyed by hopes that a steeper-than-expected decline in U.S. crude oil inventories will reduce global oversupply.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures ended Thursday's session up 29 cents to $49.04 a barrel. They are up 4.8 percent on the week.

Brent crude futures were up 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $51.53 a barrel by 2:34 p.m. ET (1834 GMT), after rising about 1.5 percent in the previous session.

U.S. crude stocks fell sharply last week as refineries increased output and imports declined, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

The 7.2 million barrel decline in crude inventories in the week ending July 21 was well above the 2.6 million barrel forecast.

"This marks the fourth consecutive week that total hydrocarbon inventories have fallen during a time of year when they normally increase," said PIRA Energy...


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