LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices remained near their highest levels in years yesterday, helping to offset some earlier losses in Asian trading hours as concerns about tight supply and inventories are fueling bullish sentiment. Brent crude futures rose 92 cents, or 1 percent, to $85.53 a barrel at 13:35 GMT, down from Thursday’s three-year high of $86.10. The index is heading for gains for the seventh week. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures also rose $1.05, or 1.3 percent, to $83.55 a barrel, close to their highest level in seven years, recorded this week. This category is also trending upwards for the ninth week. Concerns about coal and gas shortages in China, India and Europe boosted prices, prompting some power generation companies to switch from gas to fuel oil and diesel. Winters in most parts of the United States are expected to be warmer than average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast. And the position of US crude strengthened this week as investors looked for a decrease in crude stocks at the Cushing Oil Storage Center in Oklahoma. US Energy Information Administration data on Wednesday showed crude stocks in Cushing fell to 31.2 million barrels, their lowest level since October 2018.
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