Oil Edges Lower Despite U.S. Stock Draw

Oil prices eased on Thursday, stuck within the tight range traded for the past month, as investors remained cautious as to whether the glut in oil supplies was finally disappearing.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.4% to $52.36 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange, within the $4 range traded since late July. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.4% at $48.20 a barrel.

U.S. stocks continued to draw for the eighth consecutive week, with data from the Energy Information Administration published Wednesday showing a fall of 3.3 million barrels in the week ended Aug 18.

S&P Global Platts said that although the global surplus was slowly being worked through, as shown by the U.S. stock draws, "traders already appear to be looking ahead to next month, when crude stocks typically build as refinery demand fades when units are taken offline for the fall maintenance period."

Investors monitored hurricane Harvey, which is heading toward the coast of Texas, with the main concern being the risk of flooding. It could be the first hurricane to hit Texas since the U.S. Gulf became a major exporter of refined products and crude, said Oliver Jakob, head of Swiss consultancy Petromatrix. "A hurricane causing damage to the refinery infrastructure of Texas would have today a much greater international impact than in previous tropical weather events."

Write to Sarah McFarlane at sarah.mcfarlane@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 24, 2017 05:42 ET (09:42 GMT)