Oil trades above $45 as US crude stockpiles fall, fuel rises

Oil traded above $45 a barrel as weekly U.S. government data showed crude stockpiles fell for a record ninth week and refining activity climbed to a 2016 high. September futures were little changed in New York after gaining 0.7 percent Wednesday. Inventories fell by 2.34 million barrels last week to 519.5 million, according to an Energy Information Administration report. Supplies still remain more than 100 million barrels above the five-year average. Output rose for a second week and gasoline stockpiles gained on higher refinery rates. Oil has fluctuated between about $44 and $52 a barrel since early June after almost doubling from a 12-year low in February as supply disruptions and falling U.S. output trim a global surplus. Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, is maintaining drilling activities and its sales to buyers in East Asia are rising, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser told reporters Wednesday. “The broad trend of what we’re seeing in the EIA report is healthy for the market,” Angus Nicholson, a markets analyst at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said by phone. “Oil appears to be on the right path toward rebalancing, toward a more sustainable market and the price level is reflecting that.” West Texas Intermediate for September delivery was at $45.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 5 cents, at 8:08 a.m. Hong Kong time. The August contract expired Wednesday after closing 29 cents higher at $44.94. Total volume traded was about 80 percent below the 100-day average. Brent for September settlement lost 2 cents to $47.15 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract rose 51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $47.17 on Wednesday. The global benchmark traded at a premium of $1.45 to WTI for September. By Ben Sharples/Bloomberg with assistance from Stephen Stapczynski.

More from Business News