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Oil prices retreat on US stockpiles data
[NEW YORK] Oil prices fell back beneath US$50 a barrel on Wednesday after official data showed a small retreat in US petroleum inventories and a rise in gasoline supplies.
Data from the US Energy Information Administration were "quite disappointing" with only a modest drawdown in crude stocks and a jump in gasoline stocks, said Houston energy consultant Andy Lipow.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August dropped 72 cents to US$49.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent North Sea oil for delivery in August lost 74 cents at US$49.88 a barrel In the weekly US oil reserves report, gasoline stockpiles were at 237.6 million barrels for the week ending June 16, up 0.1 per cent from last week and 8.8 per cent from the year-ago period. The summer is the heaviest season for driving in the US.
As with financial markets, the oil market was waiting for the outcome of the British referendum on Thursday on whether to leave the European Union. US equities weakened in the afternoon following polls showing the "Leave" faction slightly ahead.
Oil prices had pushed back into the US$50 range, after sinking near US$25 a barrel in February, as supply disruptions in Canada and Nigeria countered worries about the global supply glut.