Oil prices little changed despite U.S. crude stock draw
* U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week - EIA
* Fed holds rates steady, signals cuts possible later this
* OPEC, non-OPEC meetings over output deal set for July 1-2
* GRAPHIC-U.S. stockpiles: https://tmsnrt.rs/2XkQF8e
(Updates prices and market activity to settlement, adds analyst
By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) - Oil futures were mostly steady
on Wednesday as price support from a larger-than-expected
decline in U.S. crude inventories was countered by a lull in
Brent crude futures settled at $61.82 a barrel,
shedding 32 cents, or 0.5%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
crude futures settled at $53.76 a barrel, falling 14
cents, or 0.26%. On Tuesday, WTI had recorded its biggest daily
rise since early January.
After swelling to near two-year highs, U.S. crude stocks
fell 3.1 million barrels last week, compared with analysts'
expectations for a draw of 1.1 million barrels, the Energy
Information Administration (EIA) said. Refined
products also posted surprise drawdowns due to a rise in
refining and crude exports, as well as a drop in crude
Oil prices briefly turned positive after the EIA report.
"I think, overall, it was a positive report," said Phil
Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "Even with the
bullish report, after the big run-up yesterday, the market is
hesitant to drive a lot higher."
A nearly flat day on Wall Street also limited oil prices,
which often follow equities.
Equities held steady after the U.S. Federal Reserve's
decision to hold interest rates steady, as expected, after
concluding a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
"The crude oil market is correlating to that," said Bob
Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. "I
don't think it's more than a sentiment thing along those lines."
Tensions remain high in the Middle East after last week's
tanker attacks, which boosted oil prices. Fears of a
confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted,
with Washington blaming Tehran, which has denied any role.
Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop
Iran having a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would
approve the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies.
Oil markets, however, largely shrugged off a rocket attack
on a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies,
including U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil.
Three people were wounded in the attack, which threatened to
further escalate U.S.-Iran tensions in the region.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries agreed to meet on July 1, followed by a meeting with
non-OPEC allies on July 2, after weeks of wrangling over dates.
OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on
cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London and Aaron
Sheldrick in TOKYO
Editing by Marguerita Choy and Alistair Bell)
First Published: 2019-06-19 02:29:36
Updated 2019-06-19 21:29:36
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