NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices surged on Wednesday, sending the crude in a bull market for an increase of 23 percent from a trough in December, as U.S. crude oil inventories shrank last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels from the week ending Jan. 4. At 439.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories were about 8 percent above the five year average for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a weekly report on Wednesday.
The falling inventories came amid rising crude imports, which recorded an average of 7.8 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the report said, further easing concerns of oversupply across the globe.
Over the past four weeks, U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 7.6 million bpd, 3.6 percent less than the same four-week period last year.
The positive momentum for crude was also driven by an upbeat stock market, which was boosted by hopes of good results from the just-concluded trade talks between U.S. trade representatives and Chinese officials in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.
The outcomes of the talks "will be out soon," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters, adding "I believe if they are good outcomes, not only China and the U.S., but also the world economy, would stand to benefit."
"Talks with China are going very well!" U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday, without giving details.
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery surged 2.58 U.S. dollars to settle at 52.36 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery rose 2.72 dollars to close at 61.44 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.