LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose above $48 a barrel on Thursday, propelled by technical buying and as investors re-evaluated U.S. data that showed falling stockpiles of fuel as well as higher crude inventories.
Brent for December delivery rose 51 cents to $48.36 a barrel by 0656 ET. The global crude benchmark finished down 86 cents, or 1.8 percent, on Wednesday, after hitting $47.50, its lowest since early October.
U.S. crude for December delivery climbed 55 cents to $45.75 a barrel, having settled down $1.09, or 2.4 percent, in the previous session. It hit a three-week low of $44.86 on Wednesday.
Oil prices came under renewed pressure this week from worries about a global glut, after U.S. crude inventories rose more than twice the figure analysts had expected.
U.S. crude stocks surged sharply for a second week, climbing by 8 million barrels in the week to Oct. 16, data from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed. [EIA/S]
However, some analysts said investors may be re-evaluating the data.
"You would expect stock builds at this time of year, and we see gasoline and distillate stockpiles falling for a second week running," said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at City Index.
Gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels to 219.8 million, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for an 858,000-barrel drop, while distillate stockpiles also fell more than expected.
Technical buyers were coming back into the market, he added.
"We are at an ideal area for bulls to step in after the retracement from the lows", of below $46 for Brent set on Sept. 15, Razaqzada said.
Oil experts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member nations made no agreement this week to take steps to boost prices, officials said after talks in Vienna on Wednesday.