NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rose noticeably on Thursday amid growing risk appetite.
The West Texas Intermediate for January delivery advanced 1.26 U.S. dollars to settle at 46.78 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery increased 1.39 dollars to close at 50.25 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. It marks the first time since early March that Brent has settled above 50 dollars a barrel.
The market gains came despite the latest data showing a surprise jump in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.
U.S. crude oil inventories increased by 15.2 million barrels during the week ending Dec. 4, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Wednesday. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had estimated the EIA publication to show a decline of 700,000 barrels in U.S. crude supplies.
"We recently highlighted the excessive optimism among oil market participants, which is likely to have driven up oil prices despite all the risks," Eugen Weinberg, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Thursday.
"It seems that cheap money, good sentiment on the stock market and hopes that demand will soon normalise thanks to corona vaccines count for more than the reality," he added.
Meanwhile, experts cautioned that the risks to the oil price remain high on both the demand and supply sides.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies agreed last week to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from January, meaning the group's output curbs would be 7.2 million bpd early next year, compared with current cuts of 7.7 million bpd.