SYDNEY, Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices edged up on Thursday to extend gains into a third session, with widely watched data showing signs of tightening supply in the United States.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $54.41 per barrel at 0052 GMT, up 19 cents from their last settlement. WTI futures closed up 1.7 percent on Wednesday, when prices touched their highest since Nov. 21 at $54.93 a barrel.
International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade, after closing up 2.2 percent in the previous session.
“Oil prices rallied after the (Energy Information Administration) weekly report showed crude stockpiles rose less than expected,” said Edward Moya, market analyst at OANDA.
“U.S. stockpiles may continue to fall as Saudi Arabia continues to trim exports to the U.S.”
U.S. crude oil stockpiles climbed less than expected last week due to a drop in imports, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell as refiners slowed production, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose 919,000 barrels in the week to Jan. 25, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 3.2 million barrels.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 1 million barrels per day. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)