Oil drifts higher amid thinner pre-holiday trade
Oil drifts higher…. slightly amid thinning pre-holiday trade on Thursday, as the market rebounded from sharp losses in the previous session following the release of bearish U.S. stockpile data.
Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange eased up 4 cents, or 0.08%, to $52.53 a barrel by 4:55AM ET (09:55GMT), after falling 81 cents, or 1.52%, a day earlier.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for January delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London tacked on 6 cents, or 0.11%, to $54.52 a barrel. It slumped 89 cents, or 1.61%, in the prior session.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude oil inventories rose by 2.3 million barrels last week, surprising analyst expectations for a crude-stock drop of 2.5 million barrels.
Worries about rising production in Libya further weighed.
Meanwhile, oil traders awaited further clarity on whether major crude producers will stick to their promise to pull back on output.
OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.
The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day.
However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.
With market volumes beginning to thin out ahead of the year-end holiday period, investors will focus on U.S. economic data later in the day for potential catalysts.
The final revision to third-quarter GDP is released at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT), along with weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders for November. Personal income and spending and PCE prices are released at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT).
Both data sets could sway market expectations around the pace of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve in 2017.
The dollar lost some steam on Thursday, slipping from its 14-year-high against a basket of currencies as investors took profits ahead of the end of the year.
The dollar index dipped 0.1% to 102.94 in early trade. The index climbed to 103.62 on Tuesday, the strongest level since December 2002.
Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to rise when the dollar falls, as this makes oil cheaper for buyers in other currencies.