SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose in early trading on Thursday, supported by a report of another fall in U.S. crude inventories as well as a weaker dollar, although a glut of refined products and economic growth concerns continue to weigh on markets.
International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $49.08 per barrel at 0045 GMT on Thursday, up 28 cents from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 27 cents at $47.70 a barrel.
Traders said that a report of a reduction in available U.S. crude oil stockpiles had been the main overnight price driver.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) trade group said its data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 6.7 million barrels last week, declining for a seventh week in a row.
Analysts also pointed to a lower U.S. dollar.
“Oil prices also rose, with a weaker U.S.-dollar making commodities priced in the currency more attractive,” ANZ bank said.
Despite these price rises, an economic slowdown and refined product glut are weighing on oil markets.
Asian crude demand is slowing and by some measures falling, and many market participants suspect it is not just a seasonal phenomenon, but also due to an economic slowdown and perhaps even more permanent structural changes.
“Growth is slipping again, and things don’t seem quite so rosy. Exports continue to disappoint and may weaken again once the ripples from Brexit reach Asia’s shores,” HSBC said in a note to clients.