SINGAPORE- Oil prices edged lower in Asia Thursday but losses were capped following a surprise drawdown in US stockpiles and as dealers await fresh economic data out of Washington, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell 12 cents to $92.68 while Brent crude for November eased 20 cents to $96.75 in afternoon trade.
Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy EY, said “a higher-than-forecast” reduction in US crude reserves boosted demand hopes in the US and were supporting oil prices.
The Department of Energy (DOE) said Wednesday US crude reserves fell 4.3 million barrels in the week ending September 19, upending analysts’ projections of an increase.
The DOE report also showed gasoline stockpiles decreased 414,000 barrels, more than double the decline forecast.
A drop in US stockpiles typically indicates strong demand in the world’s biggest economy and top crude consumer, supporting global prices.
Gupta said “economic data from the US on durable goods and final second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers will set the tone for prices” on Thursday and Friday.
Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a commentary that the US Commerce Department will likely report later Thursday durable goods contracted 18 percent in August, after a 22.6 percent increase in July due to aircraft orders.