The lingering tensions in and around the Middle East has been said to have lifted crude oil prices in early Thursday trading as the EU issued a key barometer of government debt.
According to the report, fighting continued in Yemen despite a Saudi announcement that its pan-Arab military campaign had transitioned from a military campaign to one aimed at finding a political solution to a crisis that grew out of the so-called Arab Spring democratic movements.
Yemen, the report noted, is not a major oil producer, though the U.S. military deployed strategic assets to the region to ensure key crude oil shipping lanes remain secure.
The report noted that Brent crude oil prices gained more than $1 in early Thursday trading to sell for $63.82 per barrel for May delivery, noting that Brent prices stalled earlier last week as markets waited for data assessing the resiliency of a crude oil market weighted heavily on the supply side.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a weekly petroleum status report that commercial crude oil inventories increased by 5.3 million barrels in a sign that demand was not keeping pace with the rise in crude oil production.
It noted that the price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, increased only marginally from the previous session, gaining 54 cents to $56.70 per barrel, noting that crude oil prices were up significantly from late 2014 lows amid signs that the global economy was gaining steam.
Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, said the fourth quarter 2014 government deficit to gross domestic product ratio was 2.4 percent for 19 key regional economies, compared to the 2.2 percent ratio in third quarter 2014.