© Reuters. Crude oil prices remain supported at multi-year highs© Reuters. Crude oil prices remain supported at multi-year highs

Investing.com – Crude oil prices continued to climb to multi-year highs on Thursday, amid ongoing tensions in Iran and as traders were eyeing the release of U.S. crude inventory data due later in the day.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate February contract was up 26 cents or about 0.42% at $61.89 a barrel by 04:00 a.m. ET (08:00 GMT), just off a a fresh two-and-a-half year high of $62.20 hit overnight.

Elsewhere, for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London rose 0.18 cents or about 0.24% to $68.00 a barrel, the highest since May 2015.

Oil prices remained supported amid Iranian protests, marking the biggest challenge to the country’s clerical leadership since 2009.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards deployed forces to three provinces to put down the anti-government protests.

Crude prices are also underpinned by production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. The producers agreed in December to extend current oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Market participants were looking ahead to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s , due later in the day. On Wednesday, American Petroleum Institute said crude oil stockpiles fell by in the week ending December 29, disappointing expectations for a 5.3 million decline.

Elsewhere, were up 0.14% at $1.804 a gallon, while gained 0.31% to $3.019 per million British thermal units.

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