Crude prices rose on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency noted a sharp drop in oil investment. But the broader picture of an oversupplied market limited any gains as traders focused on inventory data due later in the day.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 35 cents at $47.43 a barrel by 2:32 p.m. EDT, after falling for four trading days in a row. U.S. crude settled up 34 cent, or 0.78 percent, at $44.21 a barrel, snapping a four-day losing streak.
Prices rallied to session highs in mid-morning U.S. trade, which one trader attributed to the U.S. National Hurricane Center's forecast that tropical storm Kate will become a hurricane by tonight. It said the storm is expected to pass north of Bermuda and remain well offshore the U.S. East Coast.
Other market players said the move was driven by technical trading in U.S. crude.
In its World Energy Outlook, the IEA also estimated that investment in oil would decline more than 20 percent this year and the trend would continue into 2016.
Oil majors have canceled 80 projects across the world this year because of low oil prices and cut capital spending by as much as $22 billion, BP's head of exploration and production Lamar Mckay said.