Crude prices gained in Asia on Thursday as investors turned attention back to demand prospects as a coordinated effort to trim output looks on track for now and investors move on from an expected build in U.S. inventories reported by the Department of Energy.
Demand hopes were lifted by a flurry of executive actions on immigration and regulations that affect business by President Donald Trump helped lift the Dow Jones index above 20,000 on Wednesday.
Trump also cleared the way for two controversial pipelines on Tuesday, making it easier for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
A weaker dollar also aid sentiment for crude, which is priced in greenbacks.
U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 2.84 million barrels at the end of last week, almost in line with the expected gain of 2.85 million barrels the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, , notching a third straight week of gains and in line and below the 2.9 million barrels reported on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Gasoline inventories rose by 6.8 million barrels and distillate supplies fell 4 million barrels, EIA said.
Crude prices have mostly held gains this week on widespread agreement a coordinated pact between OPEC and non-OPEC nations to trim 1.8 million barrels-per-day (bpd) from global output is working as well and as dips in the dollar index to seven-week lows that benefit buyers in currencies other than greenbacks.
Futures have traded in a narrow range around the low $50s over the past month as sentiment in oil markets has been torn between expectations of a rebound in U.S. shale production and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by output cuts announced by major global producers. The dollar index fell 0.04% on Thursday to 99.86.