Oil prices were little changed on Thursday after data showed an increase in U.S. gasoline and diesel stockpiles amid a ramp-up in output by refiners anticipating runaway demand for fuels this summer.
Brent crude oil futures for August delivery inched up marginally to $72.27 per barrel, while U.S. oil futures for July settlement were little changed at $70 a barrel.
Gasoline inventories rose by 7.05 million barrels during the week ended June 4, while stockpiles of distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 4.4 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly petroleum status report. That indicated weaker-than-expected fuel demand at the start of the summer.
On the positive side, crude inventories in the U.S. dropped by 5.2 million barrels last week, higher than an expected drop of about 4.1 million barrels.
In another development weighing on prices, Libya’s oil output is picking up again after a pipeline leak that caused a brief reduction was fixed.
India, the third-largest oil consumer, posted its lowest fuel demand level in May since August 2020, as a second COVId-19 wave stalled mobility and muted economic activity.