TOKYO, June 1 Oil futures rose on Thursday after
slumping to a three-week low the previous session, buoyed by an
industry report that showed U.S. crude stockpiles had fallen
more than expected.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed
crude inventories were down by 8.7 million barrels at 513.2
million in the week to May 26. That compared with analyst
expectations for a decrease of 2.5 million barrels.
Brent crude futures for July were up 46 cents at
$51.22 a barrel by 0028 GMT.
On Wednesday, they fell $1.53, or 3 percent, to settle at
$50.31 a barrel on their last day as the front-month contract.
It was Brent's lowest close since May 10 and the contract
dropped 2.7 percent last month, the third monthly decline.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 51
cents at $48.83 a barrel.
They dropped $1.34, or 2.7 percent, in the previous session
to settle at $48.32 per barrel, the lowest close since May 12.
The U.S. benchmark also fell for a third month in May, declining
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report on
stockpiles is due at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) on Thursday,
delayed for a day because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.
Further gains may be limited for the two major oil
benchmarks as bearish news keeps coming from the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers
including Russia that are locked in a battle against rising
shale production in their efforts to boost prices.
Oil futures have given up all the gains posted in advance of
last week's agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to
extend a production cut for a further nine months.
Output from OPEC rose in May, the first monthly increase
this year, a Reuters survey found.
Higher supply from Nigeria and Libya, OPEC members that are
exempt from the production-cutting deal, offset improved
compliance by others.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford)