* Washington moves toward more pandemic relief spending
* US crude stocks fall, fuel investments up -EIA
* Growing U.S. vaccination campaign
SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Oil prices hit a nine-month high early Thursday after U.S. government data showed crude stocks fell last week and hopes over a U.S. coronavirus relief package.
Brent crude times rose 28 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 51.36 a barrel at 0116 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude times rose 27 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 48.09 a barrel. Both criteria met at their highest level since early March.
U.S. crude investments fell 3.1 million barrels per week to Dec. 11, the Energy Information Administration said. This was more than analysts had expected from a 1.9-million-barrel fall, after stocks rose in last week’s data.
“U.S. production also fell … for the first time since late October,” ANZ analysts said in a note on Thursday.
The refinery’s crude run fell 253,000 barrels per day in the past week, the EIA said. Refinery usage rates fell 0.8 percentage points per week.
Also raising oil prices, the Fed said Wednesday it would stick to its policy of low interest rates as lawmakers move closer to agreeing additional $ 900 billion in support. COVID-19, including $ 600 to $ 700 incentive studies and extended unemployment benefits.
The United States on Thursday expanded its campaign to deliver COVID-19 vaccine shots into the arms of doctors and nurses in the face of a pandemic that killed more than 2,500 Americans each day, which also boosted oil prices. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; edited by Richard Pullin)