NYMEX crude steady in Asia on U.S. stocks drop, global supplies weigh

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Investing.com - Crude oil prices held steady in Asia Thursday on an unexpected draw in U.S. crude oil stocks, but a global surplus continued to weigh.

In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for delivery traded at $67.40 a barrel, up 0.01%, after hitting an overnight session low of $66.89 a barrel and off a high of $68.20 a barrel.

Brent, the global benchmark, fell 0.9% to $69.92 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the lowest settlement since May 25, 2010. 

Overnight, crude futures rose on Wednesday after data revealed U.S. oil inventories fell last week, defying market calls for an increase, though global supply concerns and a stronger dollar kept gains at bay, sending the commodity dipping into negative territory at times.

A stronger greenback tends to make oil a less attractive commodity on dollar-denominated exchanges, especially in the eyes of investors holding other currencies.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories declined by 3.7 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 28, confounding expectations for an increase of 1.3 million barrels.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 379.3 million barrels as of last week.

The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels, above expectations for a gain of 1.1 million, while distillate stockpiles rose by 3.0 million barrels.

Oil prices rose on the news, though ongoing concerns that the world is awash in crude while supply remains soft and output unaffected by conflicts in the Mideast and Eastern Europe capped gains.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said last week that it would keep its official production target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day, disappointing hopes the oil cartel would lower output to support the market.

Markets have assumed that Saudi Arabia championed letting prices fall in hopes less cost-effective U.S. shale producers would halt operations.

The Institute of Supply Management reported earlier said that its non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 59.3 in November from 57.1 in October.

Analysts had expected the index to inch up to 57.5 in November, and the better-than-expected report kept expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will move to hike interest rates next year, which gave the greenback a boost.

The data came after payroll processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sector created 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of expectations for jobs growth of 223,000 and down from 233,000 in October.

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