April 19 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Wednesday as US crude inventories were seen falling and on strong Chinese economic data, signaling strengthening fuel demand.
Brent crude futures gained 7 cents to USD 84.84 a barrel at 0020 GMT. West Texas Intermediate US crude was up 3 cents to USD 80.89 a barrel.
Keeping prices from moving higher were concerns that potential increases in US interest rates could dampen growth in the top oil-consuming country.
The US Federal Reserve likely has one more interest rate rise in store to fight inflation, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said.
Prices got a lift from an industry report showing that US crude stocks fell by about 2.68 million barrels in the week ended April 14, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.
Gasoline inventories fell by about 1.02 million barrels, while distillate stocks fell by about 1.9 million barrels, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.
The official inventory report by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, is due at 1430 GMT on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the economy of top crude oil importer China grew by a faster-than-expected 4.5% in the first quarter, while the country’s oil refinery throughput rose to record levels in March, data showed.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)