Oil rose above $60 a barrel on Wednesday, supported by data showing a fall in U.S. crude oil inventories and after strong company earnings lifted expectations for economic recovery.

Crude stocks fell by 2.8 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, more than the expected decline.

The report was balanced by a bigger than forecast rise in gasoline supplies.

I think that the crude oil draw almost double expectations was a bit of a bullish surprise, said Mike Zarembski, senior commodities analyst at optionsXpress in Chicago.

It's a mixed bag overall with gasoline versus crude. Obviously with a higher stock market here today and a lower dollar everything is looking better -- at least for today.

U.S. crude for August delivery rose 94 cents to $60.46 a barrel by 1459 GMT (10:59 a.m. EDT) and Brent crude rose $1.23 to $62.09.

The U.S. contract settled at $59.52 a barrel on Tuesday, adding to a decline that shaved 11 percent from the price last week in the steepest weekly fall since January.

European and Asian equities rallied on Wednesday and Wall St also gained after upbeat results from Intel, but doubts lingered about the strength of any rebound and the implications for energy demand. The financial factors are lifting oil prices, said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank. But they are not driven by strong fundamentals (of supply and demand).

Weak demand for oil has generated big stockpiles and U.S. motor fuel stocks have risen, even though the summer driving season is well under way.

The EIA report follows that of industry body the American Petroleum Institute, which late on Tuesday reported that U.S. gasoline stocks fell. The API also reported a drop in crude inventories.

The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Wednesday. A weaker dollar can make commodities denominated in the currency more attractive to investors.

News Nigeria's main militant group had agreed a 60-day ceasefire was theoretically bearish for oil, but traders had yet to be convinced it would translate into a more stable environment for oil production.

Doubts over the sustainability of any truce were amplified after Henry Okah, a Nigerian militant leader released by the government on Monday, told Reuters he believed other militants would keep attacking the country's oil industry.

(Additional reporting by New York energy desk, Editing by Anthony Barker)