West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was seen trading higher as it heads for its first monthly gain since February as crude supplies dropped at the delivery point for New York contracts. Brent crude was steady in London as the commodity is expected to reach a second straight monthly advance, boosted by the supply worries over the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine and Libya.
“Better gasoline demand bodes well for the U.S.economy,” said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. “Overall, I see oil supported by geopolitical tensions and an improving demand outlook.”
The North American West Texas Intermediate for July delivery eased at 0.15% at $103.42 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at the time of writing. While futures for the European benchmark Brent crude for July settlement rose 0.03% higher to trade at $110.01 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, as it heads for a second straight monthly gain.
Total crude inventories in the US rose to approximately 393 million barrels in the seven days ending May 23, reports showed. Crude supplies were at record highs of 399.4 million through April 25.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for crude futures contracts dropped 21.7 million barrels, falling for the 16th time in 17 weeks, reports from the EIA; the Energy Department statistical arm showed.
US production had climbed by 38,000 barrels a day to 8.47 million, the highest level since October 1986, reports showed.
Gasoline stockpiles dropped 1.8 million barrels to 211.6 million, while refinery utilization rose for the first time in five weeks to 89.9% of capacity, reports from EIA showed.
Reports released by the research group HIS showed that lifting the ban on US crude exports would increase the crude production from the US from 8.2 million to 11.2 barrel per day.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine continues support Brent crude prices the oil market as investors raise concerns over Russian oil exports.
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