The U.S. oil benchmark pared earlier losses Wednesday, finding support as gasoline futures climbed on the back of a weekly drop in U.S. inventories, though the data also revealed the first increase in domestic crude stockpiles in five weeks.

December West Texas Intermediate crude












CLZ7, -0.53%










 fell by 21 cents, or 0.4%, to $52.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $52.22 before the supply data.

Meanwhile, December Brent crude












LCOZ7, +0.12%










the global benchmark, edged up by 17 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.50 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday reported that domestic crude supplies rose by 900,000 barrels for the week ended Oct. 20. The increase follows four weekly declines in a row.

Analysts and traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted an average decline of 2.2 million barrels for crude stockpiles, while analysts polled by S&P Global Platts looked for a fall of 425,000 barrels. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that its own data showed a 519,000-barrel increase in crude supplies for last week.

“Domestic production rebounded by 1.1 million barrels per day and net imports rose by just over 500,000 [barrels a day],” said Troy Vincent, oil analyst at ClipperData. But “the build in crude stocks was more than overshadowed by draws in excess of 5 million barrels for both gasoline and distillates.”

The data also “confirmed a rebound in refinery runs following deep cuts for maintenance in the following week,” said Vincent. “Runs are now roughly 500,000 [barrels a day] above year-ago levels given strong refining margins and should continue to support crude demand as refiners wrap up maintenance.”

Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 5.5 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles fell 5.2 million barrels, according to the EIA. That was more than double the forecast declines of 2.3 million barrels for gasoline and nearly 2.1 million barrels for distillate supplies from the S&P Global Platts survey.

On Nymex, November gasoline












RBX7, +1.07%










 rose 1% to $1.732 a gallon, while November heating oil












HOX7, -0.30%










 added 0.4% to $1.830 a gallon.

Meanwhile, November natural gas












NGX17, -1.55%










 traded at $2.949 per million British thermal units, down 0.8%.

On Tuesday, oil prices climbed, with WTI settling at a six-month high. A “feel-good factor returned to the fore of the energy complex” with bulls cheering “a frenzy of supportive comments from major oil producers,” Stephen Brennock, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd., wrote in a note Wednesday.

Read: How oil is escaping from ‘purgatory’ as supply glut turns to supply concern

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated their commitment to tackling the global oil supply glut, while hinting at extending an OPEC-led production cutting deal through the end of next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries—of which Saudi Arabia is the largest member—and some other major producers like Russia first agreed late last year to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

The deal, which expires at the end of March 2018, is expected to be a key topic of debate at OPEC’s next official meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30.



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