Brent crude slipped 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 72.02 a barrel at 0133 GMT, after rising 4.2% in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 70.12 a barrel, after rising 4.6% on Wednesday.
“The market ignored an increase in (US) trading inventories… with most of the gains occurring on the West Coast, a distribution system separate from the rest of the country,” ANZ Bank analysts said in a note.
“Supplies at Cushing, the price point of WTI, fell to their lowest level since January 2020,” they added.
Crude inventories of the world’s largest oil consumer unexpectedly rose 2.1 million barrels last week to 439.7 million barrels, up for the first time since May, according to data from US Energy Information Administration.
Analysts expected a drop of 4.5 million barrels.
Still, gasoline and distillate inventories posted withdrawals of 121,000 barrels and 1.3 million barrels, respectively, indicating higher demand due to the summer driving season.
With OPEC +, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies like Russia, unlikely to hit the market anytime soon and the Iranian negotiations delayed, the biggest risk to market fundamentals remains a deterioration of demand due to new restrictions, Citi analysts said.
“Only a really huge demand deficit would tip the market balance into a surplus,” they added.
JPMorgan analysts expect global demand to average 99.6 million barrels per day (mbd) in August, up 5.4 mbd from April.
Oil prices fell earlier this week following an OPEC + deal to increase supply by 400,000 barrels per day from August to December.