Crude oil prices moved up sharply on Thursday, lifting the most active futures contract to their highest settlement in nearly nine months.

Optimism over the rollout of coronavirus vaccines offset data showing a sharp increase in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Oil was also supported by reports about an attack on an Iraqi oilfield. A Reuters report, quoting Iraqi oil ministry, said a small oilfield in Khabbaz in northern Iraq was set on fire on Wednesday in a “terrorist attack.”

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended up $1.26 or about 2.8% at $46.78 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were gaining $1.54 or about 3.15% at $50.40 a barrel a little while ago.

Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday showed that crude inventories in the U.S. rose by 15.2 million barrels last week, as against expectations for a 1.42 million-barrel decline.

Distillate stockpiles were up 5.2 million barrels in the week, more than 4 times the expected rise, the data showed. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories rose by 4.22 million barrels, nearly twice the expected increase.

After the U.K., Canada has approved Pfizer’s Covid vaccine. Canada expects to begin its immunization rollout as early as next week.

In the U.S., a vaccine advisory panel of Food and Drug Administration is due to meet today to decide whether to recommend that a vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech SE. should receive emergency use authorization.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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