August 12, 2015 / 6:43 AM / 2 years ago

Oil steady on U.S. stockpile decline, dollar drop

The current price of gasoline is shown on a gas station sign in Encinitas, California August 4, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil ended up on Wednesday as a weaker dollar and lower U.S. crude stockpiles provided a modest bounce off six-year lows hit the previous session, when worries about China’s plummeting currency and economic slowdown deflated prices.

Concerns that U.S. inventories could build again from higher crude imports and refinery outages kept a lid on the rebound.

“The market needed a big drawdown to reverse the current trends and didn’t get it,” said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.

Crude stockpiles in the United States fell by 1.7 million barrels last week, just short of market expectations for a draw of 1.8 million barrels, government data showed.

Gasoline inventories also fell, by 1.3 million barrels versus the 647,000 barrels forecast.

But U.S. crude imports rose by 393,000 barrels per day to 7.0 million bpd. Distillates, which included diesel and heating oil, jumped by 3.0 million barrels, above the 1.3 million-barrels expected.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 settled up 22 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $43.30 a barrel, after gaining almost 80 cents at the session high. The market lost $1.88, or more than 4 percent, on Tuesday, settling at $43.08 a barrel, its lowest since March 2009.

Futures of Brent LCOc1, the global benchmark, closed up 48 cents, or 1 percent, at $49.66 a barrel, after a session high at $50.01.

The refining margin, or “crack,” for gasoline CL-RB1=R hit a 3-week high above $31 a barrel as gasoline futures RBc1 rose 4 percent after the large draw for the fuel last week.

The dollar fell more than 1 percent against a basket of other currencies .DXY, pulled down by doubts over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates after China’s currency devaluation drove the yuan to a four-year low.

China is the No. 2 oil consumer after the United States and a weaker yuan erodes its purchasing power for dollar-denominated imports. [FRX/] [MKTS/GLOB]

The International Energy Agency said low fuel prices were stimulating global demand for oil but recovery was slow and the crude glut was likely to persist through 2016. [IEA/M]

Outages at refineries operated by BP Plc (BP.L) in Whiting, Indiana, and Phillips 66 (PSX.N) in Linden, New Jersey were also weighing on market sentiment.

The Whiting plant’s 240,000 bpd crude processing unit could take up to two months to repair. The powerformer at the 238,000 bpd Linden refinery, which produces products used in blending gasoline, is expected to be shut a couple of weeks.

Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson and Lisa Barrington in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson, David Gregorio and Alan Crosby

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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