TOKYO: Oil prices fell in early Asian trade on Thursday, heading for a sixth day of declines, following a lower than expected draw on U.S. stockpiles and amid worries Britain might leave the European Union.
Front-month U.S. crude futures CLc1 were down 56 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $47.45 a barrel at 0043 GMT. The contract fell 1 percent the previous session, the fifth straight day of declines.
Brent crude LCOc1 was 44 cents, or 0.9 percent, lower at $48.53 a barrel. The contract settled down 1.7 percent on Wednesday, a fifth day it has closed lower.
U.S. crude stocks fell last week, the government said on Wednesday, but the decline was much smaller than anticipated, while gasoline stocks decreased sharply.
Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell by 933,000 barrels in the last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported, less than half the 2.3 million barrel decrease expected by analysts.
The U.S. Federal Reserve signaled on Wednesday that it still plans two U.S. rate hikes this year despite slower growth expectations, also hitting the oil market.
With a week to go before Britain votes on leaving the European Union, oil and other markets also remain in thrall to opinion polls, which are increasingly showing those supporting an exit are in the majority.
A so-called Brexit will lead to a Europe-wide recession and hit demand for oil, many analysts say.