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Oil prices claw back ground after sharp drop

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Oil prices claw back ground after sharp drop
Singapore
– Oil prices regained some ground on Thursday after steep losses the previous day, with a slight drop in U.S. crude inventories stoking hopes that a push to rein in global oversupply could be gathering at least some momentum.

Brent crude futures were at US$53.31 per barrel at 0108 GMT, up 38 cents, or 0.72 per cent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures had risen 31 cents, or 0.61 per cent, to US$50.75 a barrel.

Traders said that the gains came on the back of a reduction in commercial U.S. crude stocks, which fell by 1 million barrels last week to 532.34 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, that level was still near a record high.

Price increases came after both crude benchmarks fell over 3.5 per cent the previous day following a report of surging gasoline inventories as well as another rise in U.S. crude oil production to 9.25 million barrels per day (bpd), up almost 10 per cent since mid-2016.

U.S. gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels, despite heavier refining activity.

“The U.S. has now entered a seasonal period in which stockpiles are reduced during the summer driving season, hence the unexpected miss weighed heavily on prices,” James Wood, investment analyst with Rivkin Securities, said in a note. – Reuters