Oil futures on Thursday took back some of the ground lost in the previous session, but analysts said upside was likely to remain limited after an unexpected rise in U.S. gasoline inventories in weekly data that underlined concerns over fuel demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery CL.1, 0.35% rose 35 cents, or 0.9%, to $40.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December Brent crude BRN00, 0.46%, the global benchmark, was up 39 cents, or 0.9%, at $42.12 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. WTI tumbled 4% on Wednesday, while Brent lost 3.3%.
While Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday showed U.S. crude inventories fell less than expected last week, it was a rise in gasoline stocks “which proved not great for sentiment,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
The EIA reported a 1.9 million barrel rise in gasoline inventories versus expectations for a decline.
“It was also the largest gasoline build since June, and comes despite the fall in refinery utilization over the week,” he said. “ A fall in implied gasoline demand did not help,” falling 287,000 barrels a day over the week.
November gasoline futures RBX20, 0.30% were up 0.8% at $1.1495 a gallon after a 4% drop on Tuesday. December heating oil HOZ20, 0.09% rose 0.7% to $1.1562 a gallon, while November natural-gas futures NGX20, -1.19% edged up 0.2% to $3,03 per million British thermal units.