Spencer Platt | Getty Images
An oil well owned and operated by Apache Corporation in the Permian Basin are viewed on February 5, 2015 in Garden City, Texas.
Oil prices fell on Thursday, as cautious buying dried up after U.S. crude rose to near $50 a barrel, with concern about high crude supplies from producer club OPEC offsetting the previous day’s data showing record U.S. gasoline demand.
Benchmark Brent crude settled down 35 cents a barrel at $52.01 a barrel. U.S. light crude was 56 cents lower at $49.03. U.S. crude traded at a session high of $49.96 a barrel.
OPEC crude oil exports rose to a record high in July, driven largely by soaring exports from the group’s African members, according to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research.
U.S. light crude has remained below $50 a barrel, capped by robust domestic supplies.
“The market needs continuing signs of improvement in the inventory picture to really drive the prices higher,” said Gene McGillian, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Strong demand in the United States has been supporting prices. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported record gasoline demand of 9.84 million barrels per day (bpd) for last week and a fall in commercial crude inventories of 1.5 million barrels to 481.9 million barrels.
That was below levels seen this time last year, an indication of a tightening U.S. market.