Oil futures finished higher on Thursday, with expectations for stronger energy demand from China still providing support, despite data showing a fourth straight week of gains in U.S. crude supplies. The Energy Information Administration reported an 8.4 million-barrel climb in domestic crude stockpiles for the week ended Jan. 13. “That figure has been inflated by lackluster refining activity to start the year, but also points to a general oversupply for crude during a seasonal weak point for refined product demand,” said Robbie Fraser, manager, global research & analytics at Schneider Electric. The U.S. benchmark WTI crude for February delivery CLG23 rose 85 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $80.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 0.9% on Wednesday after eight session gains in a row.
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