US Crude Stocks Dip, But Gasoline Inventories Rise

Saudi Energy Minister Praises OPEC Oil Price Boost

Saudi Energy Minister Praises OPEC Oil Price Boost

"A build to gasoline inventories is tilted a little bearish, although a build of 2.5 million barrels on the Gulf Coast was in response to higher refining activity", said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

The fall in oil prices was, however, given some support by a report indicating that there was a decline in output in Saudi Arabia.

Elsewhere in the energy spectrum, May gasoline tacked on 0.4% to $1.666 a gallon and May heating oil edged up by 0.1% to $1.583 a gallon.

US crude for May delivery recently traded up 2 cents, or 0.04%, to $50.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil slid more than 1 percent on Wednesday, after USA data showed a counter-seasonal build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected decline in overall crude stocks coupled with another rise in domestic crude production.

Prices for natural gas, meanwhile, fell as the EIA reported a larger-than-expected weekly climb in US supplies of the commodity.

United States commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 1 million barrels from the previous week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report.

China's March gasoline output rose 2.5 percent year-on-year to 11.24 million tonnes, the highest level since at least April 2014, China's National Bureau of Statistics said, adding fuel into an Asian market that is already well supplied.

"The market sentiment appears to be that the increase in USA shale production outweighs the OPEC action and the market is keeping the loss we had yesterday", he said. WTI rallied more than 1% early on Thursday after Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih suggested major oil producers could extend their agreed upon cuts.

Crude inventories fell by 1 million barrels in the week to April 14, compared with analysts' expectations for an decrease of 1.5 million barrels.

Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of French oil and gas giant Total, said on Thursday prices could fall again by the end of the year, citing US shale production.

Oil prices fell to a two-week low amid concerns that the global supply is far too high, and if the downward trend isn't bucked crude could decline for the third day in a row.

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