April 20, 2017 / 1:10 AM / 3 months ago

Oil prices claw back ground after sharp drop, buoyed by US crude stock dip

2 Min Read

* Falling U.S. crude stocks offer some support to crude prices

* But rising production, surge in gasoline stocks weigh

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices regained some ground on Thursday after steep losses the previous day, with a slight drop in U.S. crude inventories stoking hopes that a push to rein in global oversupply could be gathering at least some momentum.

Brent crude futures were at $53.31 per barrel at 0108 GMT, up 38 cents, or 0.72 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures had risen 31 cents, or 0.61 percent, to $50.75 a barrel.

Traders said that the gains came on the back of a reduction in commercial U.S. crude stocks, which fell by 1 million barrels last week to 532.34 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) C-STK-T-EIA. However, that level was still near a record high.

Price increases came after both crude benchmarks fell over 3.5 percent the previous day following a report of surging gasoline inventories as well as another rise in U.S. crude oil production to 9.25 million barrels per day (bpd), up almost 10 percent since mid-2016 C-OUT-T-EIA.

U.S. gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels, despite heavier refining activity.

"The U.S. has now entered a seasonal period in which stockpiles are reduced during the summer driving season, hence the unexpected miss weighed heavily on prices," James Wood, investment analyst with Rivkin Securities, said in a note. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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