Crude oil prices gained more than 1% to close above $80 a barrel Wednesday, taking direction from a dropping U.S. dollar and data showing fewer U.S. job losses, which overshadowed a surprisingly high increase in crude-oil stockpiles. Wednesday marked the first day since Jan. 12 that the most active contract has hit $81 intraday, and the first day in a week that the contract has closed at or above the $80 level.
For the past several weeks, Crude prices have been unable to get much past $80 a barrel, hemmed in by concerns over supplies outstripping fragile demand. Weekly inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) did little to assuage those concerns. In keeping with a trend reported by industry group American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday, the EIA showed a bigger increase in crude-oil stockpiles than expected. Analysts said that with the fundamentals weak and consistent resistance above the $80 level, Oil may start to trade lower over the next few days.