New York: Oil hovered near $61 a barrel for a second day after capping its longest streak of gains in almost two months as traders weighed bearish signs of swelling U.S. fuel inventories against a surprise decline in domestic crude stockpiles.
Futures in New York were little changed, after dipping less than 0.1 per cent on Wednesday. Nationwide crude inventories fell to levels not seen since early November last week, according to government data released on Wednesday. Industry data earlier showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories. Still, official stockpiles data for gasoline, diesel and heating oil expanded.
Crude has gained more than 10 per cent this month, following an agreement from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies to deeper-than-expected output cuts, as well as amid positive trade signals between the U.S. and China. American crude exports also rose last week to the highest level since October, contributing to the inventory draw, the Energy Information Administration said.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery, which expires Thursday, was down by 2 cents at $60.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:30 a.m. Singapore time. The more active February contract was 2 cents lower at $60.83.
Brent for February settlement rose 2 cents to $66.19 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.35 premium to WTI for the same month.