Oil prices edge lower ahead of weekly U.S. stockpile data
Oil prices edge lower on Thursday, giving back some of their overnight gains as market players awaited fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.
Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped 16 cents, or 0.3%, to $53.10 a barrel by 4:40AM ET (09:40GMT), after jumping 93 cents, or around 1.8%, a day earlier.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London shed 24 cents, or 0.45%, to $56.22 a barrel. London-traded Brent prices rallied 99 cents, or 1.8%, on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 11:00AM ET (16:00GMT) Thursday, amid analyst expectations for a decline of 2.2 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories are expected to rise by 1.8 million barrels while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are forecast to increase by 1.1 million barrels.
The report comes out one day later than usual due to the holidays.
After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by 7.4 million barrels in the week ended December 30, exceeding expectations for a 1.7-million-barrel decline.
The API report also showed a gain of 4.3 million barrels in gasoline stocks, while distillate stocks jumped 5.2 million barrels.
Meanwhile, market players continued to monitor developments surrounding the landmark deal reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and several non-OPEC oil producers to reduce their output this year.
January 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day.
The deal, if carried out as planned, should reduce global supply by about 2%.
However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.
Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February declined 0.9 cents, or 0.6% to $1.629 a gallon, while February heating oil dipped 1.3 cents, or 0.8%, to $1.679 a gallon.
Natural gas futures for February delivery inched up 1.7 cents, or 0.5%, to $3.284 per million British thermal units.
Market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due later Thursday, which is expected to show a draw of 82 billion cubic feet in the week ended December 30.
That compares with a withdrawal of 237 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 131 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 107 billion cubic feet.