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Commodity Market: WTI Crude Oil edges higher in volatile trade as investors weigh US fuel stock build, supply disruptions

Futures on US West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil traded a notch higher in a volatile session on Thursday, as market players weighed US fuel inventory build and global supply disruptions.

The official report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday crude oil inventories had decreased by 2.762 million barrels during the week ended June 24th. Analysts on average had anticipated a much smaller inventory drop – by 569,000 barrels.

But, fuel inventories surged as refiners increased activity, while operating at 95% of capacity – the highest for this period of the year in 4 years.

“Crude oil pushed higher in early trading after a bullish inventory… The drawdown was driven by refiners increasing their throughput amid historically high refining margins,” ANZ analysts wrote in an investor note.

Still, supply disruptions underpinned oil prices, as Libya’s shipments from two key eastern ports remain suspended. Meanwhile, exports of Ecuador’s Oriente crude also remain suspended due to a force majeure declaration, with anti-government protests hampering output.

On the other hand, concerns over slowing economic growth and a firmer US Dollar were limiting oil price gains.

As of 8:21 GMT on Thursday WTI Crude Oil Futures were edging up 0.21% to trade at $110.01 per barrel. Yesterday the black liquid climbed as high as $114.05 per barrel, which has been its strongest price level since June 17th ($116.58 per barrel).

At the same time, Brent Oil Futures were retreating 2.47% on the day to trade at $112.75 per barrel. Yesterday Brent Oil went up as high as $120.39 per barrel, which has been its strongest price level since June 17th ($121.21 per barrel).

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