Falling U.S. stockpiles cause a rise in crude oil futures

Crude oil prices hung just above the $88 per barrel mark on the Asian commodity index today, after the latest reports from the U.S. Energy Department indicated that the nation’s crude oil stockpiles decreased unexpectedly over the week. Crude oil investments rose on the strengths of these reports, as the U.S. continues to display signs that its economy is healing, albeit slowly.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures lost 7 cents and are currently settled at $88.27 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The American benchmark commodity oil rose almost $2 during yesterday’s session, and has now managed to pare down the grand majority of the tremendous losses it sustained over the past few months.

Brent crude oil futures for delivery in December gained 15 cents and now sit at$111.30 per barrel in London.

Crude oil prices and crude oil investments were both boosted by U.S. delivering a surprising decrease in its crude oil inventories, losing 3 million barrels, despite the fact that it was expected to gain 1.8 million barrels.

In addition to optimistic data stemming from the nation’s Energy Department, the U.S. Commerce Department reported better than expected retail sales for the quarter, and the country’s industrial sector seems to be flourishing despite fears of a second recession. These figures suggest that the nation’s economy is growing, causing an appropriate rise in crude oil investments on the commodities market.

Though the overall mood on the markets seems to be a positive one, some economists and investors believe that the extended grace period crude oil futures are going through are merely another round of volatility on the commodity index, and that even if the commodity futures manage to sustain their upward trend throughout the remainder of the year, they will likely fall in 2012.