Oil prices edge lower as market settles into range
Oil futures inched down on Thursday despite official figures showing U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected, with an analyst saying the market had settled into a range, Reuters reported.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $52.66 at around 0232 GMT, after earlier trading as high as $52.80. It closed up 1.1 percent on Wednesday, snapping two days of declines.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 3 cents at $49.52, after rising to $49.69 earlier. The contract gained 0.8 percent in the previous session.
"We have settled into a range. The U.S. dollar is slightly stronger, which may be creating a bit of negativity, but broadly I think the market is trading sideways at the moment," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell last week as refineries boosted output to the highest percentage of capacity in 12 years, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
U.S. oil inventories dropped by 6.5 million barrels last week, the government data showed, steeper than the expected decrease of 2.7 million barrels.
"It does create the hope that we are going to end the summer driving season with inventories below the year before, which would be a positive development," Spooner said.