Oil rises from 1-week low, US inventory data in focus

SINGAPORE: US oil on Thursday moved away from one-week lows touched the session before, with investors turning their attention to upcoming government data on US inventories.
Sentiment in oil markets has been torn between expectations of a rebound in US shale production and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by output cuts announced by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and others. The international benchmark for oil prices, Brent crude rose 46 cents, or 0.9 per cent to $54.37 a barrel by 0723 GMT after closing down 2.8 per cent in the last session.
US West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading up 40 cents at $51.48 per barrel, having dropped to a one-week low on Wednesday at $50.91 a barrel.
“Some bargain hunters are happy to pick up oil at the bottom of the range,” said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.
“We are just watching for the next catalyst which could come from Opec, non-Opec, US shale producers, rig count and, of course, inventories…But still the market appears to be very range bound.”
The market is awaiting weekly inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), due at 1600 GMT. It has been delayed by a day due to a US public holiday on Monday.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed US crude stocks fell by 5.04 million barrels in the week to January 13. Analysts had expected a decrease of 342,000 barrels. Opec said producer cuts agreed late last year should help stabilise the oil market in 2017, with the exporter group’s output slipping and non-members complying with their production pledges. But the organisation also pointed to the possibly of a rebound in US output amid higher oil prices. — Reuters