Oil prices retreated slightly Wednesday as investors reacted to a smaller-than-expected U.S. gasoline stock draws as they awaited the outcome of discussions in Vienna between OPEC and other oil-exporting countries on whether to extend output cuts.
U.S. crude oil inventories fell for the seventh straight week as refiners processed a near-record amount of crude last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, even as gasoline and distillate stocks also dipped.
Crude inventories fell 4.4 million barrels in the week ended May 19, more than analysts' forecasts of a 2.4 million barrels decline. But gasoline inventories fell by only 787,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 1.2 million barrel draw.
The data comes one day before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with non-member producing nations, are scheduled to decide whether to extend an agreement to cut world supply, an effort that has only recently started to bear fruit in global inventory figures.