The Valero St. Charles oil refinery is seen during a tour of the refinery in Norco, Louisiana, US on August 15, 2008. -Reuters
US oil prices rose more than 2 percent in early Asian trade on Wednesday, recovering from a three-month low after industry data showed a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles.US West Texas Intermediate crude was trading up 73 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $48.45 a barrel by 2314 GMT, having earlier risen more than $1 to $48.87. The rise came after the contract marked a seventh straight decline in a row on Tuesday, the longest losing streak since January 2016. US crude stocks fell by 531,000 barrels last week, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday after settlement.
That compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels. If the draw is confirmed by government data on Wednesday, it would be the first drawdown after nine consecutive builds. U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories drew more than expected, the data also showed.
Oil tumbled on Tuesday after OPEC reported a rise in global crude stocks and a surprise output jump from its biggest member, Saudi Arabia, further pressuring prices that have erased nearly all gains since OPEC announced output cuts in November. Brent futures had yet to be traded yet after settling down 43 cents at $50.92 on Tuesday, the lowest finish since November.
Secondary sources had said Saudi output fell in February to 9.797 million barrels per day (bpd), but Riyadh told OPEC it rose to 10.011 million bpd. In an effort to dispel market concerns, the Saudi energy ministry said the "difference between what the market observes as production, and the actual supply levels in any given month, is due to operational factors that are influenced by storage adjustments and other month to month variables."
OPEC's monthly report said oil stocks in industrialised nations rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average, with U.S. shale and other non-OPEC supply gaining.
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