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Oil jumps to near eight-week high after big draw in U.S. crude stocks

An employee pumps petrol for clients at a petrol station in Hanoi, Vietnam December 20, 2106. REUTERS/Kham

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose to near eight-week highs on Wednesday, with Brent crude futures above $50 a barrel, as a much steeper than expected decline in U.S. inventories encouraged hopes the global crude glut would recede.

Brent crude futures <LCOc1> settled up 77 cents or 1.5 percent to $50.97 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures <CLc1> rose 86 cents or 1.8 percent to $48.75 a barrel.

U.S. crude stocks fell last week as refineries hiked output and imports dropped, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said.

Crude inventories fell 7.2 million barrels in the week ending July 21, far exceeding the 2.6 million barrel forecast. It was the fourth straight weekly decline...


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