Oil prices held steady on Thursday despite a surprise U.S. inventory build. Expectations of a continued supply deficit supported prices.
Brent crude futures for December delivery edged up 16 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $78.25 a barrel, while U.S. oil futures for November settlement were up 22 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $75.05.
Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude stockpiles increased by about 4.6 million barrels in the week ended September 24, rising for the first time in eight weeks. Markets had expected crude stockpiles to see a drop of 4.5 million barrels in the week.
The EIA’s report also showed gasoline inventories rose by 200,000 barrels last week versus an expected increase of about 700,000 barrels. Distillate stockpiles rose by 400,000 barrels compared to an expected decline of 2.2 million barrels.
The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported crude oil inventories rose by 4.1 million barrels last week.
Citigroup expects oil balances to be in a 1.5 million-barrel-per-day deficit on average over the next six months, even with continued supply increases.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, will be meeting on Monday to discuss production plans. The group is expected to hold to a pact on adding 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to their output for November.