Oil holds gains as US crude stockpiles seen resuming decline

Hong Kong - Oil held gains near $46 a barrel before US government data forecast to show crude stockpiles resumed declines after an unexpected rise.

Futures climbed 0.4% in New York after advancing 1% in the previous two sessions. Inventories are forecast to have slid by 2.25 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report on Wednesday.

Crude stockpiles expanded for the first time in nine weeks through June 2. Output at major US shale plays will reach a record in July, according to the EIA.

Oil has traded below $50 a barrel amid speculation increased US supplies will counter production curbs by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allies including non-Opec member Russia.

American drillers targeting crude added rigs for the 21st straight week, the longest run of gains in at least three decades, according to data on Friday from Baker Hughes.

"Oil seems to have bottomed and is showing some signs of forming a base after reacting to the surprise gain in US inventories," said Ric Spooner, an analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"The market will wait for short-term news and the most likely of those on the horizon is the stockpile data."

West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was at $46.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 18 cents, at 12:09 in Hong Kong. Total volume traded was about 33% below the 100-day average. Prices gained 25 cents to $46.08 on Monday.

Brent for August settlement rose 20 cents to $48.49 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.01 to August WTI.

US gasoline stockpiles probably decreased by 1.15 million barrels last week, according to the Bloomberg survey.

Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the nation’s biggest oil-storage hub, declined by 1.4 million barrels last week, according to a forecast compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil-market news:

Shale output from major US fields will expand to 5.48 million barrels a day in July, the EIA’s monthly Drilling Productivity Report shows.

Libyan production climbed to 820 000 barrels a day after the restart of the Sharara field, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.

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