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SINGAPORE May 4 Crude oil lost ground on
Thursday, falling for a third out of four sessions and trading
near its lowest since late March after data showed a lower than
expected decline in U.S. inventories.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell less than expected last week,
while gasoline inventories grew as demand remained weak, the
Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, keeping
concerns about global supply on a simmer.
Crude inventories fell by 930,000 barrels in
the week to April 28, much less than analysts' expectations for
a decrease of 2.3 million barrels. Crude stocks have steadily
declined for the last four weeks, but at 527.8 million barrels
they are still 3 percent higher from this time a year ago.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 18
cents, or 0.4 percent, to $47.64 a barrel by 2345 GMT after
settling 16 cents higher at $47.82 a barrel in the last session.
The benchmark Brent crude oil was yet to start
trading in Asian hours.
"EIA data showed U.S. stockpiles fell only 930,000 barrels
to 527.8 million barrels," ANZ said in a research note.
"U.S. production also pushed higher for the 11th straight
While the market takes direction from U.S. inventories and
rising production, investors are also monitoring whether
producing countries have been complying with their 2016 deal to
cut output around 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by the
middle of the year.
Russia, contributing the largest production cut outside
OPEC, said as of May 1, it had cut output by more than 300,000
bpd since hitting peak production in October.
However the latest Reuters survey of OPEC production showed
the country's compliance had fallen slightly. OPEC meets on May
25 to discuss extending the agreement.
Iraqi fuel oil exports have soared since January despite a
reduction in the country's crude production in line with OPEC
supply cuts, industry sources said, in what could be a way to
boost output of refined products and maintain oil revenues.
Iraq on average exported between 80,000 and 160,000 tonnes
of fuel oil per month in 2016, data collected by Thomson Reuters
Oil Research showed.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard Pullin)