Oil prices mixed in choppy trade, rising U.S. production weighs

What Was Weatherford’s Correlation with Crude Oil on April 13

"Over the last four weeks, the country's crude oil imports averaged over 7.9 million barrels per day, 2 percent above the same four-week period past year", said EIA. The fall in gasoline inventories could support gasoline and crude oil prices. However, that level was still near a record high.

Global fuel stocks are well above the five-year average, and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was quoted on Thursday as saying inventories remained elevated in part because traders were selling supplies out of tanker storage.

USA crude futures were down 9 cents at $50.50 a barrel.

June Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange rose 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $52.99 a barrel.

Iran was allowed to increase its output under the deal as the nation rebuilds from worldwide sanctions that pressured its energy industry.

Iran pumped just shy of its 3.8 million barrels a day allowed under the deal in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency. The US government's Energy Information Administration Wednesday reported a drawdown in commercial crude inventories for the week ended April 14, which should have been a bullish influence, but was overshadowed by a bearish build of 1.57 million barrels in gasoline stocks, against analyst expectations of a 2-million-barrel decline.

"The domestic increases continue to not only offset overseas production cuts, but potentially more importantly, they also weigh on OPEC's morale as they are watching market share continue to slip away as a result of their own policy actions", he said in his latest report.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' kingpin Saudi Arabia said the cartel is likely to reach an agreement next month to extend its production cuts.

"At 532.3 million barrels, USA crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year". The decline was triggered by the surprise build in USA gasoline stockpiles that point to weaker-than-expected demand at a time when consumption of gasoline usually rises.

Traders said that the rising US crude production posed a concern that the oil supply overhang would continue, while the jump in gasoline stocks implied a stutter in demand.

"Five of the last trading days we've been lower", he said.

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