MTECHTIPS:-Crude prices steady, U.S. oil stocks data disappoints
Oil prices were steady on Thursday as an unexpected build in U.S. gasoline inventories offset a higher than forecast draw in crude stocks, while Brent was supported by a stronger euro. Brent crude for August delivery had risen 17 cents to $63.66 a barrel by 0329 GMT (1129 EDT), after ending the previous day down 96 cents, or 1.5 percent. U.S. crude for delivery in August was unchanged at $60.27 a barrel, after finishing Wednesday down 74 cents, or 1.2 percent. “The market is disappointed with last night’s numbers,” said Mike McCarthy, chief market strategist at Sydney’s CMC Markets. “The spread (between Brent and U.S. crude) had narrowed so it’s not surprising it’s diverging.”. The gap between Brent and West Texas Intermediate tightened towards $3 on Wednesday, but was widening in early trade on Thursday. “For today, we continue to expect prices to move sideways with a strong resistance at $61.80 and $65 for West Texas Intermediate and Brent, and support at $59 and $62.38,” Phillip Futures said in a note on Thursday. Vyanne Lai, an analyst at National Australia Bank said that oil had been trading in a very narrow range. “Even though U.S. production has been slowing, the gap is filled by OPEC production,” she said. Brent has been supported as the euro rose on Thursday on expectations Greece would agree a fiscal plan with euro zone countries, Lai said. U.S. gasoline stocks climbed 680,000 barrels to 218.49 million in the week to June 19, data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday. A Reuters poll had indicated a 304,000-barrel drop.