Oil prices rose for a third straight day on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar and data showing draws this week at the delivery point for U.S. crude futures.
The dollar fell to a one-month low against a basket of currencies after the Federal Reserve disappointed investors who had hoped for a clearer signal on when the U.S. central bank will lift interest rates. Hopes for a positive conclusion to the Greek fiscal crisis also lifted the euro.
Market intelligence firm Genscape reported a draw of about 870,000 barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for crude in the week to Tuesday, according to market sources who saw the data. Between Friday and Tuesday alone, some 1.2 million barrels were drawn.
Despite the bullish data, oil prices were off the day's highs by midmorning in New York as traders and investors sought more evidence of demand after U.S. government data on Wednesday suggested the recent strength in crude consumption may not hold.
"The highs for the day had a lot to do with the weaker dollar but we have pared since the U.S. open as the volume that came in obviously led to some profit-taking," said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.
A weaker dollar makes commodities priced in the greenback, such as oil, more affordable to users of currencies like the euro.
Gasoline prices, which have led the oil complex most of this month, were flat at above $2.10 a gallon in an extended reaction to Wednesday's data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that showed higher gasoline stockpiles for last week.
The EIA had also cited the first weekly build in Cushing inventories since mid-April.
"The market keeps reverting to the mean, which is $60, and much of the recent wind behind the price has been on the power of gasoline. It's still very a much a products market," said Scott Shelton, oils broker with ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.
"It's fine if gasoline is going to be the big driver of global oil in the long term but unfortunately, it's not. It's just near-term flows or noise that it's creating," Shelton said.