Brent crude oil was up on Friday with a decline in US gasoline stocks, which implies that gasoline demand is picking up in the world’s largest oil-consuming country. 

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $35.65 per barrel at 0643 GMT for a 1.02% increase after closing Thursday at $35.29 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI), however, was trading at $33.19 per barrel at the same time for a 1.54% decline, after ending the previous day at $33.71 a barrel.

US gasoline inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels, or 0.3%, to 255 million barrels for the week ending May 22, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration on Thursday. The market expectation was an increase of 100,000 barrels.

The decline in gasoline stocks signaled that overall gasoline demand has begun to pick up in the US — the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Crude oil prices will be set on an upward trajectory if quarantine measures around the world against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are eased, which, in turn, will lead to higher gasoline consumption worldwide.

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