NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices advanced on Wednesday after data showed a fall in U.S. crude stockpiles.
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery added 1.1 U.S. dollars to settle at 48.12 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for February delivery increased 1.12 dollars to close at 51.20 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 0.6 million barrels during the week ending Dec. 18, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday.
According to the EIA, total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels last week and were about 4 percent above the five-year average for this time of year. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week.
Prior to Wednesday's gains, oil prices suffered a two-day skid as fresh virus-prompted mobility restrictions sparked concerns over fuel demand.
Looking ahead, analysts cautioned that downside volatility is likely on the oil market as risks remain high on both the demand and supply sides.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are set to boost output by 500,000 barrels per day in January.