NEW YORK: Crude futures rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, hitting 2016 highs above $50 a barrel on supply outages led by the sabotage of oil facilities in Nigeria, before paring gains as glut concerns resurfaced after US data showed a surprise build in supplies.
US crude stocks fell for the third consecutive week to June 3, sliding by 3.2 million barrels versus analysts’ expectations for a 2.7 million-barrel drawdown, government data showed.
Brent crude was up 76 cents at $52.20 a barrel after hitting $52.54 earlier in the session, its highest since October.
US crude futures were up 65 cents at $51.01 a barrel after hitting $51.27, the highest since July.
But gasoline stock piles grew by 1 million barrels and distillates, including diesel and heating oil, rose 1.8 million barrels, versus forecasts of drawdowns.
This indicates a sentiment that gasoline demand will weaken more than expected or that the crude glut will be reflected by a gasoline glut, said Troy Vincent at energy data provider Clip per Data.
“The gasoline build was a big surprise, specially since the driving season is underway,” said Tariq Zahir, managing partner at Tyche Capital Advisors.
Prices were also supported by data showing China’s crude oil imports in May hit their highest in more than six years.