Oil holds gains, buoyed by hopes for robust demand

Oil prices on Thursday held most of their gains of around 2 percent from the previous session, buoyed after the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for growth in global oil demand.

London Brent crude for November delivery was down 11 cents at $55.05 a barrel by 0035 GMT, after settling Wednesday up 89 cents, or 1.6 percent.

NYMEX crude for October delivery was down 4 cents at $49.26, after ending the last session up $1.07, or 2.2 percent.

Wednesday’s gains came despite U.S. government data showing another big build in U.S. crude inventories due to Hurricane Harvey.

The global oil surplus is beginning to shrink due to stronger-than-expected European and U.S. demand growth, as well as production declines in OPEC and non-OPEC countries, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The IEA raised its 2017 global oil demand growth estimate to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.5 million bpd.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed a build in U.S. crude inventories last week of 5.9 million barrels, exceeding expectations.

U.S. gasoline stocks slumped by 8.4 million barrels, the largest weekly decline since data began in 1990. U.S. gasoline futures extended declines on Thursday as demand is expected to slip due to the effects of Hurricane Irma on the high-consuming states of Florida and Georgia.

Distillate stocks fell by 3.2 million barrels, the data showed.

ExxonMobil Corp said on Wednesday said it was restarting its 362,300-barrel-per-day Beaumont, Texas, refinery for the first time since it was shut by Harvey. Source: Reuters