New York, US (BBN) – Crude oil prices reversed course and fell in Asia on Thursday as investors moved on from a lower than expected build in US crude stocks and a supply disruption in Libya and awaited the latest weekly rig count data at the end of the week from the US for further guidance.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for April delivery fell 0.02 per cent to $49.49 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent eased 0.19 per cent to $52.44 a barrel, reports
Meanwhile, market participants turn attention to Baker Hughes rig count, due to be released on Friday at 13:00 EDT.
Data last weekrevealed that the number of active US rigs drilling for oil rose by 21, the tenth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 652, the most since September 2015.
Overnight, crude futures settled higher on Wednesday, after the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed a smaller than expected rise in US crude stockpiles while output disruptions in Libya continued to lift sentiment.
Oil prices continued to rebound for a second straight session, buoyed by bullish crude inventories data and continued output disruption in Libya.
For the week ending March 22, The EIA said that crude oil inventories rose by 0.867 million barrels compared to estimates of an increase of 1.357 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories dipped by 3.747 million against expectations for a drop of 1.886 million barrels while distillate stockpiles fell by 2.483 million barrels, compared to expectations of a 1.886 million decline.
Elsewhere, armed factions at the western Libyan oil fields of Sharara and Wafa continued to block production, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), about a third of production.
Crude futures are on tentative path to recovery and settled above $49 for the first time in nine days amid worries that growing US crude inventories to record levels would dampen OPEC’s effort to tackle the oversupply issue in the industry.
In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.