SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Global oil prices extended gains above $72 in Asian trade Wednesday mainly after reports of decline in US crude stocks.

Light sweet crude for July delivery was seen trading at $72.51 a barrel at 11.00 a.m Singapore time while Brent crude was at $ 72.54 a barrel in London.

American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday said US crude inventories fell 4.5 million barrels last week, the, more than four times as much as expected.

US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish more closely watched government statistics on U.S. oil inventories and demand later today.

Chinese trade data for May, including oil statistics, will be published on Thursday, followed by industrial production for the same month on Friday, with growth forecast at 17.1 percent in a Reuters survey, down from a 17.8 percent gain in April.

On Tuesday, oil prices rose near 72 dollars a barrel as expectations of slipping inventories and short term demand beat out fears of a faltering economy.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, rose 55 cents to $71.99 a barrel. London's Brent North Sea crude for July was up 18 cents at $72.30 a barrel.

Oil prices were helped upward by more positive investor sentiment following remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who said he was not expecting a double dip recession in the world's largest economy.