Brent crude is back above $50 a barrel for the first time in four trading days, positioning the global oil benchmark for its best day since December after the weekly US crude stockpile report showed a bigger-than-expected drop in oil and gasoline inventories.

Brent crude rose as much as $1.79 or 3.7 per cent to $50.52 a barrel before trimming those gains to trade 3.2 per cent higher at $50.29 a barrel by pixel time. That left it poised for its largest one-day gain since December 1.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate, the US crude marker — which had climbed as high as $47.67 a barrel after the weekly crude report — was up 3.5 per cent to $47.48 a barrel. That left it on track for its biggest one-day gain since November.

The rally in oil prices also helped lift energy shares, with the S&P 500 energy sector advancing 1 per cent and leading the gains on the benchmark index.

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