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 $53.31 per barrel at 0108 GMT, up 38 cents, or 0.72 percent, from their last close.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures had risen 31 cents, or 0.61 percent, to $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) <C-STK-T-EIA>. However, that level was still near a record high.
Price increases came after both crude benchmarks fell over 3.5 percent 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 percent since mid-2016 <C-OUT-T-EIA>.
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.