MTECHTIPS:- NYMEX crude gain in Asia as investors look ahead to U.S. rig count
Crude oil prices gained in Asia on Thursday ahead of an end of week report on U.S> production trends. Investors are looking ahead to Friday’s report from industry research group Baker Hughes(NYSE :BHI), of the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S., which declined by seven last week to 638, snapping two weeks of gains. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for September delivery rose 0.07% to $49.23 a barrel. Overnight, WTI crude futures declined sharply on Tuesday to fall under $50 a barrel for the first time since early-April, amid an expected build in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Brent crude for September delivery wavered between $56.16 and $57.09 a barrel, before settling at $56.20, down 0.89 or 1.57% on the session. The spread between the international and U.S. benchmarks of crude stood at $6.81, above a level of $6.19 at Tuesday’s close. In its weekly Petroleum Status Report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels for the week ending on July 17. While analysts expected a draw of 2.2 million barrels last week, traders may have priced in a significant build after the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday that U.S. crude stockpiles had declined by 2.1 million barrels for the week. Crude inventories nationwide are now at 463.9 million barrels the highest level at this time of year in at least 80 years. At the Cushing Oil Hub in Oklahoma, the main delivery point for NYMEX oil, its crude inventory increased by 813,000 last week, above expectations for a 300,000 build.