Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Crude oil futures moved upward on Thursday after news of a decline in U.S. oil inventories, and analysts' wait-and-see approach to Iranian threats to leave the 2015 nuclear deal.
U.S. crude oil inventories fell 2.57 million barrels in the week ending Aug. 24, the Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday. The inventories followed a downward pattern after spiking in the spring of 2017. Total U.S. gasoline inventories fell 1.61 million barrels last week to 222.8 million barrels, while distillate supplies fell 837,000 barrels to 130 million barrels.
Analysts said domestic demand for oil and products was the motivating force behind the draw, S&P Global reported on Thursday.
Stocks of crude oil, gasoline and distillates fell more sharply than expected, a Commerzbank analysts' report said, and "this time it was not imports that were chiefly responsible."
Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was trading at $77.14 per barrel at the open of the market Thursday. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was up 0.58 percent to $69.93 per barel at 10:45 a.m. EDT.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened to withdraw from the country's nuclear agreement on Wednesday, the Joint Compressive plan of Action, the adding that no negotiations with the United States would occur.
"If we come to the conclusion that JCPOA cannot serve the national interests, we will leave it," Khamenei said. He added that Iran "pins no hope on Europeans over JCPOA and economic issues."
The United States withdrew from the agreement on May 8, and again imposed sanctions, including an oil embargo, on Iran. An Iranian withdrawal would likely lead to reimposition of sanctions on Iran, including on Iranian oil, by the European Union.
Most European customers have already begun cutting back on purchases. Analysts expect the U.S. sanctions will eventually keep about one million barrels per day off the market, although China has said it will continue to buy Iranian oil.