* Saudi Arabia cuts oil supplies to Asia for June
* U.S. crude stocks fall 5.2 million barrels to lowest since
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, May 11 Oil prices rose on Thursday,
and Brent was firmly back over $50 per barrel, as a fall in U.S.
crude inventories and a more severe than expected cut in Saudi
supplies to Asia tightened the market.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for
oil prices, were at $50.33 per barrel at 0039 GMT on Thursday,
up 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures
were trading at $47.46 per barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.3 percent
from the last settlement.
"We saw the biggest draw in inventories for the year last
week with stockpiles down more than 5 million barrels. And it
looks like OPEC's production cut is finally biting," said Greg
McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
and other producers including Russia have pledged to cut output
by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first
half of the year.
So far, however, there have been few signs that global
markets are actually tightening as producers shielded their
biggest customers, especially in Asia, from the cuts.
But after Brent prices fell back below $50 per barrel last
week, analysts said producers felt forced to act.
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has notified
several Asian refiners of its first cuts in crude allocations
for regional buyers since OPEC's output reduction took effect in
Reuters reported on Tuesday that state-owned Saudi Aramco
will reduce oil supplies to Asian customers by about 7 million
barrels in June.
In the United States, U.S. crude stockpiles posted their
biggest one-week drawdown since December last week as imports
dropped sharply, while inventories of refined products also
Crude inventories fell 5.2 million barrels in
the week to May 5, the U.S. Energy Information Administration
said. At 522.5 million barrels, crude stocks were the lowest
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin)