U.S. crude oil futures dipped from a 15-month high on Thursday as investors sold contracts to take profit after three weeks of sharp gains and as U.S. data showed a rise in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week.
Brent's premium to U.S. crude narrowed to the smallest since November 2010 at $1.32, a day after U.S. data showed the biggest two-week drop on record in crude stockpiles, indicating strong U.S. demand for domestic crude oil.
The spread between U.S. gasoline futures and Brent crude oil futures widened to $19.30 a barrel, its widest since April 2. Brokers and traders said refineries were using the spread as a financial hedge should refining margins fall.
Brent shed about 80 cents to trade under $108 a barrel after settling at $108.51 on Wednesday, when it touched a three-month top of $108.69.
U.S. crude dropped by more than $2 intra-day, ending the session under $105 a barrel after peaking at $107.45 earlier — its highest since March 2012. The front-month contract jumped nearly 3 percent in the previous session, its biggest daily rise since early May. The contract has gained $15 a barrel since June 28.