Oil prices recorded additional gains after touching two-week highs. Based on data from the U.S. energy Information Administration, the gains in oil prices came after U.S. crude stocks unexpectedly declined by 1.6 million barrels in the week ending on February 16. That was compared to the 1.8 million-barrel rise in inventories that was forecasted by experts. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed by 0.05% and closed at $62.80 per barrel while Brent Crude futures added 0.02% to its value and was traded at $66.38.
Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s biggest oil and gas company, went higher by 0.56% following the increases in prices. Other stocks of oil producers also recorded gains, for instance, Santos (another Australian-owned oil company), rose by 0.39% and Oil Search Limited (the biggest oil and gas exploration and development company in Papua New Guinea) went higher by 1.46%.
Asian markets closed in the green zone. Investors are now waiting for the U.S. inflation data as well as the first House testimony by the newly appointed head of the Federal Reserve. Japan’s Nikkei was up by 1.4 percent. In Wall Street, The S&P 500 closed the week 0.6% higher. Most of the gains occurred in the energy sector thanks to the rise in oil prices. The Dow Jones soared by 1.4%, adding 370 points and closing at 35,309.99. The NASDAQ leaped by 1.8% and closed at 7,337 points. From a weekly perspective, it climbed by 1.4%.
While the VIX volatility index fell by just 2 points on Friday to end the session at 16.49 percent, far below the heights touched during market turmoil in early February. This indicated that the overall mood in global markets was calm. Analysts claim that this relaxed atmosphere is mainly was due to investors’ expectations of the Federal Reserve follow a policy of slow and gradual rate hikes.