Crude Oil Futures Rise Slightly

Crude oil futures rose slightly in Asia Thursday, buoyed by a rebound in regional stock markets, after a sharp overnight rally on a surprise decline in U.S. oil inventories.

At 0606 GMT, the New York Mercantile Exchange contract for light, sweet crude for September delivery, which expires today, traded at $72.57 a barrel, up 15 cents. October Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange gained 13 cents at $74.72 a barrel.

Nymex October contract, where most volumes were traded, increased 13 cents to $73.96 a barrel.

"Oil is at a level now where it's approaching some resistance near June highs and when we made a push at the beginning of August," said Toby Hassall, a research analyst at CWA Global Markets , Wall Street Journal reports.

"The EIA report has been pretty bullish for the market, and will support sentiment in the near term," said David Moore, commodity strategist with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"But we expect prices to remain volatile, as the overall demand picture remains weak, and as equity markets and the dollar continue to play major roles in influencing trading direction."

U.S. crude stockpiles plunged by a whopping 8.4 million barrels in the week to August 14 -- against analysts' forecasts for a 1.3 million barrel build -- as imports dropped to the lowest level since September 2008 and refiners hiked runs, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed , Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) gave crude oil a shot in the arm yesterday. Inventory dropped 8.4 million barrels. Gasoline inventory dropped 2.1 million barrels. Diesel and other distillates dropped 700,000 barrels. I can’t tell you how surprising these numbers are to me. Get long oil - the trade is on! , Seeking Alpha reports.

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