New York, US (BBN)- Crude oil prices rebounded in Asia on Thursday after a sharp plung overnight on growing US inventories, but holding above the $50 a barrel level not seen since the end of November after a coordinated pact by OPEC and major non-OPEC producers to curb oil was put in place.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures rose 0.64 per cent to $50.60 a barrel, reports
On London’s Intercontinental Exchange, global benchmark Brent rose 0.77 per cent to $53.52 a barrel.
Crude oil slumped overnight in the US as inventories more than quadruple the forecasts by 8.21 million barrels at the end of last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, marking nine straight weeks of gains and taking the total to 528.4 million barrels.
The market had forecast a gain of around 2 million barrels, with estimates from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday showing an 11.6 million barrels build.
Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub gained 867,000 barrels.
Gasoline stocks however dropped a much sharper than expected 6.6 million barrels, while distillate supplies dropped 2.7 million barrels, also more than seen.
The data offset a report that showed crude imports by China, the world’s second largest buyer, rose to the second-highest level on record in February, reaching 1.78 million metric tons or 8.286 million barrels per day (bpd), up 3.5 per cent from a year ago, according to trade data released on Wednesday, just shy of December’s record 8.57 million bpd and up on 8.01 million bpd in January.
In other data, expected output of US crude this year will be higher than thought only a month ago, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said late on Tuesday, raising its forecast to 9.21 million bpd, a 330,000 bpd increase over 2016 and higher than a forecast of 100,000 bpd extra for the year made in January.
Comments from the annual CERA Week gathering of oil industry executives and policymakers in Houston have been upbeat on a coordinated effort by OPEC and non-OPEC nations led by Russia to trim nearly 1.8 million bpp from global markets.
But the focus is now on taking the deal beyond the six-month period ending June 30.
OPEC is slated to meet in late March to review the pact and may comment then about a possible extension.