Oil prices dip on US gasoline stock build

[SEOUL] Oil prices slipped on Thursday after US government data showed that gasoline stocks and distillate inventories rose last week, although falls were checked by continuing Middle East geopolitical tensions.

US July crude edged down 16 cents at US$59.76 a barrel as of 0140 GMT after falling 5 cents in the previous session.

Brent August crude shed 8 cents at US$63.79 a barrel after it settled 17 cents higher on Wednesday at US$63.87.

Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels to 467.93 million last week, more than analysts' expectations for a decrease of 1.7 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks rose by 460,000 barrels, more than analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 314,000-barrel drop but far less than the fall of 2.9 million barrels reported by the API.

Tropical Depression Bill drenched large parts of Texas on Wednesday, but oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico and near the coast were unaffected by the storm. Refineries also operated normally.

After the Federal Reserve signalled it may wait until late this year to raise interest rates, the US dollar slid while Wall Street stocks rose in volatile trading. Asian equities also rose early on Thursday.

Movement across multiple asset classes "confirms our view that the Fed's confidence in raising rates is wavering," Phillip Futures Pte Ltd said.

Chinese economic data, meanwhile, showed the country's average new home prices in 70 major cities fell for a ninth consecutive month in May from a year earlier, underlining a slow economy.

In Greece, its leftist government faced a barrage of warnings that it risked being forced out of the euro zone and left without support if it failed to strike a swift aid-for-reforms deal with its creditors. "The game of chicken continues between Greece and its creditors ... It appears both sides are preparing for a failure of talks - though of course this in itself is a useful negotiating tactic ahead of the Eurogroup finance ministers meeting on Thursday," ANZ said in a note on Thursday.

In the Middle East, Islamic State killed five policemen in a town near Iraq's biggest refinery, in an attack that may help ease pressure on some of its fighters trapped in the strategically important facility, a security official said.

Car bombs killed or injured at least 50 people near mosques and the headquarters of Yemen's dominant Houthi group in Sanaa on Wednesday, in coordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State.



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