Crude oil inventories were expected to rise by 2.005 million barrels for the week ending on February 21. The actual result is a smaller build of only 0.452 million. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has topped $50 in the immediate aftermath.
WTI has been struggling to hold onto the $50 level amid coronavirus fears. A global slowdown – or even a recession – triggered by the respiratory disease is set to reduce demand for the black gold.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have been at odds over potential future production cuts in response to the outbreak.
President Donald Trump is set to deliver a speech on the virus at 23:00 GMT.