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TOKYO, March 15 U.S. oil prices rose more than 2
percent in early Asian trade on Wednesday, recovering from a
three-month low after industry data showed a surprise drawdown
in U.S. crude stockpiles.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading up 73
cents, or 1.5 percent, at $48.45 a barrel by 2314 GMT, having
earlier risen more than $1 to $48.87. The rise came after the
contract marked a seventh straight decline in a row on Tuesday,
the longest losing streak since January 2016.
U.S. crude stocks fell by 531,000 barrels last week,
industry group the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday
That compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of
3.7 million barrels. If the draw is confirmed by government data
on Wednesday, it would be the first drawdown after nine
U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories drew more than
expected, the data also showed.
Oil tumbled on Tuesday after OPEC reported a rise in global
crude stocks and a surprise output jump from its biggest member,
Saudi Arabia, further pressuring prices that have erased nearly
all gains since OPEC announced output cuts in November.
Brent futures had yet to be traded yet after settling down
43 cents at $50.92 on Tuesday, the lowest finish since November.
Secondary sources had said Saudi output fell in February to
9.797 million barrels per day (bpd), but Riyadh told OPEC it
rose to 10.011 million bpd.
In an effort to dispel market concerns, the Saudi energy
ministry said the "difference between what the market observes
as production, and the actual supply levels in any given month,
is due to operational factors that are influenced by storage
adjustments and other month to month variables."
OPEC's monthly report said oil stocks in industrialised
nations rose in January to 278 million barrels above the
five-year average, with U.S. shale and other non-OPEC supply
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)