OIL PRICES prices eased on Â Thursday in choppy deals as investors digested upbeat US inventories figures ahead of European interest rate decisions and fresh economic data
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December handed back 18 cents to $82.77 a barrel nearing midday in London.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December dipped 21 cents to $78.47 a barrel compared with Wednesday’s closing level.
New York crude had rebounded sharply Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in crude oil supplies.
“Crude oil prices fluctuated … following a strong rebound in the oil market yesterday as the weekly EIA oil inventories report spread an optimistic tone across the market,” said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou on Thursday.
She added: “Today, investors will be keeping an eye on the releases of the US Challenger layoffs and weekly jobless claims data, as well as interest rates decisions from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.”
The EIA reported Wednesday that US crude inventories grew by 500,000 barrels in the week ending October 31.
That was much less than the 2.2 million barrel increase on average expected by analysts.
Over the four previous weeks, crude inventories had climbed by roughly 23 million barrels.
The oil prices had plunged on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia cut its prices for crude sold to the US market, with WTI at its lowest close since October 2011 and Brent at its lowest since October 2010 .
Analysts interpreted the Saudi move as an effort to maintain market share in North America against cheaper oil flooding from US shale fields.
Since mid-June, both Brent and New York oil prices have fallen by almost 30 percent in value amid concerns of a global supply glut. – SAPA/AFP