Oil prices recovered slightly on Thursday after falling to a four-month low, as investors weigh increases in U.S. stockpiles against efforts by OPEC to cut output and reduce global glut.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 0.6%, or 30 cents, to $48.34 per barrel. Brent oil also gained 30 cents to trade at $50.94 per barrel.
West Texas Intermediate settled lower on Wednesday, hitting a low of $47.01 after reports showed that U.S. crude supplies were higher than expected. Brent tumbled to $49.71 on Wednesday, its lowest level since November.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly report showed that crude oil inventories increased by 5 million barrels to a high of 533.1 million.
Oil Prices Curbed
Growing oil stockpiles in the U.S. has sparked concerns among investors and sent oil tumbling this month.
OPEC members agreed last year to curb output by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first six months of the year. Russia and ten non-OPEC producers also agreed to curb output in an effort to reduce global stockpiles.
In total, all parties involved agreed to reduce their output by 1.8 million barrels per day to 32.5 million. Thus far, the group’s effort has done little to budge inventory levels.
OPEC’s report showed that global oil inventories rose to 278 million barrels in January, higher than the five-year average. Members of OPEC are in favor of increasing the output cut beyond June to help balance the market.
Meanwhile, gas futures for April gained 0.2%, or 0.2 cents, to trade at $1.603 per gallon. Heating oil increased by 0.3 cents to $1.499 per gallon.
Natural gas gained 2.1 cents to $3.032 per million BTUs. Investors are turning their focus to weekly storage data due later today. The report is expected to show a decrease of 150 billion cubic feet last week.
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