Oil prices rise on U.S. crude stockpile decline, weaker dollar
Brent and West Texas Intermediate edged higher in early Asia trading
Oil prices edged up on Thursday, supported by a weaker dollar ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting and by a drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles.
International Brent crude futures were trading up 18 cents, or 0.34 percent, at $53.18 a barrel at 0116 GMT.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices edged up 29 cents, or 0.58 percent to $50.06 a barrel.
Crude oil inventories in the United States dropped 2.4 million barrels in the week that ended on Dec. 2, compared with analyst expectations for a draw of 1 million barrels.
But stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures, increased by a hefty 3.8 million barrels last week, the most since 2009, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
Oil prices have been supported since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia reached a landmark agreement last week to cut production to erode a global supply overhang and prop up prices.
The U.S. dollar index fell as Treasury bond yields eased and as investors eye next week’s Fed meeting. A weak dollar makes dollar-denominated oil less expensive for importing countries.
But doubts remain over whether OPEC will be able to comply with output cuts and whether those curbs will be enough to rebalance markets.
OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers will meet again this weekend in Austria’s capital to discuss the details of last week’s agreement, which aims at an overall reduction in output of around 1.5 million barrels a day.