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Crude Oil Prices Remain at 3-Year Peak on Sustained Optimism

Crude remains stronglly supported after latest U.S. inventory report - Crude oil prices remained at three-year highs on Thursday, as optimism dominated following news this week of another decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude February contract was up 85 cents or about 1.34% at $64.42 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), the highest since December 2014.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London gained 27 cents or about 0.39% to $69.48 a barrel, just off a fresh three-year peak of $69.59 hit earlier in the day.

Oil prices were boosted after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude oil inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended January 5, compared to analysts' expectations for a decline of 3.9 million barrels.

The report also showed that U.S. crude oil production fell by 290,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.49 million bpd.

Oil prices have added around 13% since early December, benefiting from production cut efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. The producers agreed in December to extend current oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures advanced 0.48% to $1.842 a gallon, while natural gas futures gained 3.41% to $3.004 per million British thermal units.

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