HOUSTON, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported an increase of 14.865 million barrels of crude oil in U.S. inventories for the week ending Jan. 6.
Analysts had expected a drop of 2.375 million barrels for this week.
The API reported a surge of 3.299 million barrels in the previous week.
Oil prices advanced on Tuesday, supported by improved demand prospects in China.
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery gained 49 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle at 75.12 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery added 45 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at 80.1 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
The above market reactions came as traders bet on the positive impact of China's reopening.
"We are confident that oil prices will climb again once the current wave of COVID infections has peaked in China and economic activity picks up," Carsten Fritsch, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said Tuesday in a note.
Meanwhile, concerns that major central banks' policy tightening to rein in inflation could slow the global economy continued to weigh on the market.
Traders also awaited data on U.S. fuel stockpiles as the Energy Information Administration is set to release its weekly petroleum status report on Wednesday. ■