WTI crude futures rose above $74 per barrel on Friday, extending gains from the previous session after official data showed that US fuel inventories declined sharply last week following a winter storm in the US. EIA data showed that US distillate stocks, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.427 million barrels last week despite forecasts for a milder 396,000 barrel drop. US crude and refined product exports also rose by 1.33 million barrels last week, signaling robust global demand and keeping supply tight. Meanwhile, the US oil benchmark remains down more than 7% this week as a surge in Covid cases in China clouded the near-term demand outlook in the worldâ€™s top crude importer, while hawkish signals from the US Federal Reserve fueled fears of a recession. Elsewhere, investors continued to assess news that Saudi Aramco slashed crude prices to Asia and Europe in a potential sign of sluggishÂ demand.
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