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Oil Holds in Range Near $60 After U.S. Crude Stockpiles Decline

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(Bloomberg) — Oil held a two-day gain near $60 a barrel after U.S. crude stockpiles fell and investors tracked signs of reopening.

West Texas Intermediate edged lower in Asian trading after rising 1.9% over the previous two sessions. American oil inventories fell to a five-week low, an Energy Information Administration report showed. While domestic gasoline stockpiles rose, a gauge of demand for the fuel continued its upward trend.

Crude has been confined to a narrow range around $60 since mid-March. While prices have been boosted by signs of improving energy consumption as vaccines are rolled out, still-stubborn Covid-19 outbreaks and renewed lockdowns, especially in Europe, have acted as a counterweight. At the same time, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have announced a roadmap to ease supply curbs over the three months to July.

In the U.S., New York City beaches will open for Memorial Day weekend, highlighting the progress in the world’s largest economy toward reopening. In addition, Alabama’s governor lifted the state’s mask mandate.

Federal Reserve policy makers signaled the central bank will go on supporting the economy with asset purchases to safeguard the recovery, buttressing the outlook for energy consumption. Minutes from their last meeting showed that officials see some time before conditions would be met for tapering.

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