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U.S. crude futures extended gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said the economy continued to expand across most regions and sectors from early January through mid-February, with auto sales and consumer spending rising in most Fed districts.
In its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts across the nation, the central bank said oil and gas producers in certain districts anticipate cuts in capital expenditures this year, in a sign of low energy prices biting the industry.
U.S. crude futures closed up $1.01, at $51.53 a barrel, with their discount to Brent narrowing to less than $10 a barrel, after the announcement.
Meanwhile, April Brent crude oil slipped 60 cents to $60.42 a barrel after climbing 2.5 percent on Tuesday.
Brent fell below $60 a barrel earlier in the session after a much larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude stocks, while Saudi Arabia's oil minister said he expected the market to balance itself and prices to recover.