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Oil rises in post-settlement trade after API report

 Oil workers working well
Reuters

Oil rose in post-settlement trade after a report that U.S. crude oil stocks fell.

Crude inventories fell by 6.7 million barrels in the week to July 1 to 520.9 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 80,000 barrels, American Petroleum Institute said.

U.S. crude was last up $1.17, or 2.53 percent, at $47.78, after it settled at $47.43 a barrel, up 1.78 percent, or 83 cents. The contract fell 5 percent to end at $46.60 on Tuesday.

Global benchmark Brent futures were up 76 cents at $48.72 a barrel after a 4.1-percent drop on Tuesday.

Before the report, oil prices had risen after a two-day decline lured buyers back, although analysts cautioned the market will likely remain under pressure from a U.S. gasoline glut and economic worries over Britain's exit from the European Union.

Gasoline futures were up a quarter of a percent after hitting a 3-month low.

Profit for turning crude oil into gasoline, known as the gasoline "crack," fell to a February bottom below $13 a barrel as oversupply in the motor fuel forced U.S. refiners to cut output. Vessels carrying gasoline-making components could not unload at New York Harbor this week due to a glut.

"The fundamental weakness in gasoline markets is being exemplified by the crack spread, which is closing in on levels which would encourage refiners to dial back on runs," said Matt Smith, analyst at New York-based oil cargo tracker Clipperdata.

"At below $15 a barrel, the crack is at less than half the profitability it showed this time last year."

Ole Hansen, commodity strategist at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum that Brent was edging closer to the technical support level of $47 a barrel while U.S. crude was approaching support of $45.80.

Analysts at Petromatrix said if WTI breaches this level, the next support test will be at $43.

The U.S. crude inventory data could change momentum if it shows another stock draw as an indicator that a supply glut is starting to ease.

A Reuters poll showed analysts expected weekly U.S. commercial oil stocks to have fallen for a seventh consecutive week, along with a probable drop in gasoline stockpiles.

Investors awaited data on U.S. crude inventories, delayed due to Monday's Independence Day holiday.

They forecast a 2.5-million-barrel draw in crude stocks and a 1.2-million-barrel fall in gasoline inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) releases its data a day later than normal on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), while data from the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) is delayed to Thursday at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

Britain's decision to exit the EU has caused concern about economic growth in the region.

U.S. share prices extended losses shortly after they opened on jitters over the Brexit's impact on global growth. The British pound hit a 31-year low after three UK property funds were suspended in the face of a rush of redemptions from investors fearing a slump in British property values.

The Bank of England also took steps to ensure British banks keep on lending, by lowering the amount of capital banks must hold in reserve, as UK business confidence plunged.