Oil held gains near $47 a barrel as U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles extended declines, easing concerns over a global supply glut.
Futures were little changed in New York after rising 2.4 percent the previous two sessions. U.S. crude inventories slipped 4.73 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. Gasoline stockpiles dropped 4.45 million barrels, the most since March. Iraq is proceeding with plans to boost output to 5 million barrels a day by the end of the year, including from the Kurdistan region, Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said.
Oil has traded below $50 a barrel since late May amid concerns rising global supply will offset curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners. OPEC and non-member countries will meet later this month in St. Petersburg to help monitor compliance with the output deal.
“Crude prices are supported by shrinking gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. as it removes concerns over eroding demand,” Seo Sang-Young, a market strategist at Kiwoom Securities Co., said by phone in Seoul. “What OPEC and its partners decide at the ministerial meeting will either send oil prices above $50 a barrel or leave it trading around where it is now.”
West Texas Intermediate for August delivery, which expires Thursday, was at $47.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 3 cents. Total volume traded was about 53 percent below the 100-day average. Prices advanced 72 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $47.12 on Wednesday. The more-active September contract fell 6 cents to $47.26 at 7:45 a.m. in London.
Brent for September settlement traded at $49.65 a barrel, down 5 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices on Wednesday gained 86 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $49.70. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.38 to September WTI.
See also: Saudi Arabian crude shipments to U.S. drop to seven-year low
Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the nation’s biggest oil-storage hub, fell for a ninth week to 57.5 million barrels last week, the longest run of declines since June 2014, EIA data showed. Still, U.S. production expanded for a third week to 9.43 million barrels a day in the week ended July 14, according to the EIA.
India approved the sale of a $4.6 billion stake in state-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. to the country’s biggest oil and gas explorer, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.
Kuwait plans to increase its light-oil output capacity by 200,000 barrels a day by December, Kuwait Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq said in an emailed statement.