Oil economy falls as OPEC supply rises
Oil prices fell on Thursday as it lost a rally, pushing prices up about 10 percent since early last week, momentum despite renewed signs of a gradual contraction in the supply-demand gap in the US market.
By 0825 GMT, Brent crude was down 25 cents at $ 52.11 a barrel. US light crude <CLc1> fell 25 cents to $ 49.34.
Traders say strong demand in the United States is supporting prices, while rising supply of OPEC producers is holding back additional gains, signaling a market moving in a tight range.
US crude remained below $ 50 a barrel despite a record demand for gasoline of 9.84 million barrels per day last week and commercial oil inventories in the week ending July 28 fell 1.5 million barrels to 481.9 million barrels, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
This is lower than the levels recorded at the same time last year, indicating a narrowing of the gap between supply and demand in the US market.
Traders say rising output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is curbing prices.
OPEC and other producers, including Russia, have pledged to cut production by 1.8 million bpd until March 2018 to help boost prices and cut stocks.
But Thomson Reuters and Aikon data show that shipments of crude oil from OPEC and Russia, excluding pipeline supplies, reached the highest level in 2017 at around 32 million bpd, up from about 30.5 million bpd in January.
Analysts say prices are likely to remain under pressure for some time in the future due to oversupply.