SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Thursday following a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories, but gains in fuel inventories and persistent concerns over the global economy and future demand outlook capped gains.
Brent crude futures climbed 27 cents, or 0.5%, to $60.57 a barrel by 0051 GMT on Thursday.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 35 cents, or 0.6%, to $56.03 per barrel.
U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected last week as refineries hiked production, but gasoline and distillate stockpiles showed bigger-than-expected builds, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 16, compared with analysts' expectations for a drop of 1.9 million barrels. However, gasoline stocks rose by 312,000 barrels and distillate supplies grew by 2.6 million barrels.
"With two weeks left in the critical driving season, the surprising build in U.S. fuel inventories is being viewed as a counter-seasonal Grim Reaper of sorts suggesting that gasoline demand has peaked, and the worst is yet to come," said Stephen Innes, a managing partner at Valour Markets.
"If trade uncertainties persist it will be difficult for oil to shrug off concerns about the threat to global demand," Innes added.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was "the chosen one" to address trade imbalances with China, even as congressional researchers warned that his tariffs would reduce U.S. economic output by 0.3% in 2020.
Trump defended his actions and said he believed a trade deal between the world's largest economies was still possible.
Asian shares edged ahead on Thursday after Wall Street got a boost from strong retail results, but minutes of the Federal Reserve's July meeting showed policymakers were deeply divided over whether to cut interest rates as sharply as markets were wagering.
Meanwhile, oil markets were also supported by simmering tensions between the United States and Iran, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioning Washington against tightening pressure on Tehran.
If Iran's oil exports are cut to zero, international waterways will not have the same security as before, Rouhani said on Wednesday.
Echoing Rouhani's tone, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran might act "unpredictably" in response to U.S. policies under President Donald Trump.
NEW YORK: Oil futures steadied on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed a drawdown in domestic crude stocks but rises in refined product inventories, while lingering worries about the global economy weighed on the market.
Brent crude futures rose 27 cents to settle at $60.30 a barrel, down from a session high of $61.41.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 45 cents to settle at $55.68 a barrel, after hitting $57.13 a barrel.
Prices pared gains after data from the Energy Information Administration showed bigger-than-expected builds in U.S. fuel inventories last week. Gasoline stocks rose by 312,000 barrels, while distillate supplies grew by 2.6 million barrels.
Crude stockpiles decreased 2.7 million barrels, a bigger drawdown than the 1.9 million barrels that analysts had forecast.
"Both gasoline and distillate apparent demand remains anemic with little improvement expected before years end," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Tensions between the United States and Iran remained in focus. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that if Iran's oil exports are cut to zero, international waterways would not have the same security as before, cautioning Washington against tightening pressure on Tehran.
The comment coincided with a remark by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Tehran might act "unpredictably" in response to U.S. policies under President Donald Trump.
Uncertainty over the global economic outlook amid the U.S.-China trade war weighed on the market.
"Crude oil remains stuck, with the relief rally in recent days not removing the fear that recession risks could still send the market lower again," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
Traders were also watching this week's annual U.S. central bank seminar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where comments from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell will be in focus.
"Market players continued to fret over recession fears and sluggish oil demand forecasts," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM. "A reprieve, however, may be on the cards tomorrow... expectations are running high that hints of impending monetary stimulus will be plentiful." - Reuters