West Texas Intermediate futures for September delivery climbed to $48.80 ( 0.02%), while Brent crude advanced to $53.53 ( 0.28%) after Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly declined by 4.2 million barrels in the week ending July 24 vs expectations for an 184,000 barrels drop. Gasoline inventories fell by 363,000 barrels against analysts' forecasts of a 512,000-barrel increase. Meanwhile U.S. gasoline demand rose by 6.2% from a year ago.
"The outlook still remains cautious for crude oil prices, especially Brent oil. Prices may not get any relief in the short term as players are expected to continue the fight for market share at the expense of price," ANZ said on Thursday. OPEC members are currently producing 3 barrels per day more than required.