Oil prices extended gains Thursday as a drop in U.S. gasoline inventories suggested higher demand in the country.
The U.S. gasoline inventories fell by 869,000 barrels last week to 256.2 million barrels, the country's Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
The figure came well below analyst expectations. Analysts said the fall in gasoline inventories supported the prices as it suggested U.S. consumption was stronger than expected.
The West Texas Intermediate for March Delivery added 0.66 dollars to settle at 53 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery increased 0.51 dollars to close at 55.63 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.