September 28, 2017 / 12:55 AM / 9 months ago

Oil falls as U.S. data shows mixed picture

TOKYO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Thursday, with U.S. crude giving up some of the previous session’s gains that were driven by a surprise fall in inventories, while Brent moved further away from recent 26-month highs.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) dipped 2 cents to $52.12 a barrel by 0032 GMT. On Wednesday, the contract rose 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $52.14 but stayed below five-month highs.

Brent was down 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $57.73 a barrel, slipping further away from Tuesday’s more than two-year high of $59.49 following a near 1 percent fall in the previous session.

U.S. crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel build.

The crude draw provided some support to oil prices as refiners came back online following Hurricane Harvey last month, but gasoline stocks surprisingly rose and stocks of distillates were down by less than anticipated.

Another dampener on prices was U.S. crude production, which rose to 9.55 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, higher than before Harvey hit the Gulf Coast.

With Brent futures commanding their highest premium over WTI WTCLc1-LCOc1 in more than two years, U.S. crude has become increasingly competitive in foreign markets and exports hit a record 1.5 million bpd last week.

That complicates efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers to push oil higher through output curbs, as every hike in price encourages more U.S. production.

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Richard Pullin

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