Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday as concerns over rocky demand in Europe counterbalanced hopes of a recovery in U.S. refinery activity as industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week.

Brent crude futures fell 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $68.32 a barrel by 0458 GMT, after initially gaining as much as 23 cents, as reported by Reuters.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 4 cents to $64.84, after climbing as much as 28 cents in early trade.

Read alsoGermany insists on Nord Stream 2 completion despite objections from Washington – ReutersThe benchmarks were choppy on Wednesday with both swinging between positive and negative territory during Asian trade.

The market has been drifting lower over the past few days as more European countries pause COVID-19 inoculations due to concerns over possible serious side effects, which could slow a recovery in fuel demand.

Trading in oil futures is now as heavy as it was in the first months of the COVID-19 crisis with oil bulls and bears rushing to hedge against jolts in prices.

Traders will be looking for confirmation of the drawdown in crude stocks in official data due from the Energy Information Administration due on Wednesday.

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