Crude prices were narrowly mixed in Asia on Thursday with investors noting a steady drumbeat of bearish supply news overwhelming talk from OPEC and allies led by Russia that output cuts through March of next year are working their way through the market.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for July delivery eased 0.13% to $44.67 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent rose a slight 0.02% to trade at $47.01 a barrel.
Overnight, crude futures settled lower, after data on Wednesday showed that supplies of U.S. crude fell by less than expected, fuelling concerns that a glut in supply is likely to continue despite OPEC and its allies' efforts to limit production.
A weekly report from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed U.S. crude inventories fell less than expected while gasoline stockpiles unexpectedly swelled in the week ended May 2.
Inventories of U.S. crude rose by roughly 1.66m barrels in the week ended June 2, far below expectations of the draw of around 2.7m barrels.
Gasoline inventories, one of the products that crude is refined into, unexpectedly rose by roughly 2m barrels against expectations for a decline of 457,000 barrels while distillate stockpiles dipped by 328,000 barrels, compared to expectations of a 686,000 rise.
The unexpected increase in gasoline inventories surprised investors, as the summer months are traditionally associated with the start of the U.S. summer driving season, which usually spurs heavier refining activity.
The disappointing report on U.S. inventories fuelled fears that a rise in non-OPEC production would continue to derail OPEC and its allies' efforts to curb oversupply, after the Information Energy Agency said it expected growth in non-OPEC supply to be higher next year.
"For total non-OPEC production, we expect production to grow by 700,000 bpd this year, but our first outlook for 2018 makes sobering reading for those producers looking to restrain supply," the IEA said in its monthly oil market report.