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Oil drops after unexpected increase in US gasoline inventories




FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen in an aerial photograph at the Cushing Oil Hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, US April 21, 2020. REUTERS / Drone Base

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Thursday after official figures showed a sharp increase in U.S. gasoline inventories, raising concerns over weakening demand for crude among the world’s largest consumer. resource at a time when world supplies are increasing.

Brent fell 36 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 62.80 a barrel at 0136 GMT. US oil fell 38 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 59.39 a barrel.

While US crude inventories fell more than analysts expected, gasoline inventories rose sharply, also against expectations, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.

Oil inventories fell 3.5 million barrels last week to nearly 502 million barrels, while gasoline inventories rose 4 million barrels, against expectations of a drop, to just over 230 million barrels, as refiners ramped up production ahead of the summer driving season. [EIA/S]

Refiners may want to reduce the fill rate a bit to prevent gasoline storage from jeopardizing the all-time record, said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities.

At the same time, supply is increasing across the world, with Russian production increasing from average March levels during the first few days of April, traders said.

Iran may see some sanctions lifted and add to global supply, with the US and other powers leading talks on reviving a nuclear deal that nearly kept Iranian oil from arriving on the market.

Still, the International Monetary Fund said earlier this week that massive government spending to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic could push global growth to 6% this year, a rate not reached since the 1970s.

Higher economic growth would stimulate demand for oil and its products, helping to reduce inventories.

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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