Crude prices rise on signs of drop in global inventories

Will the FOMC Meeting Drive the US Dollar and Crude Oil Futures

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures () were at $49.83 barrel at 0021 GMT, 6 cents below their last settlement, but still close to the more than three month high of over $50 per barrel briefly reached late last week.

Crude prices were on course for a almost 16 percent rise this quarter, which would make this year's performance the strongest for the third quarter since 2004.

While oil has rebounded the past two weeks, crude in the US has struggled to hold above $50 a barrel as prices beyond that level make some shale profitable and boost supply.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 703,000 barrels, EIA said.

US energy firms cut seven oil rigs in the week to September 15, bringing the total count down to 749, the least since June, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

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The Brent/WTI spread WTCLc1-LCOc1 widened 36 cents to settle at negative $5.60.

"Demand is clearly coming back, so there is a need for refining to come back online". "They're not replacing inventories for current demand". U.S. gasoline inventories shrank last week to a level not seen since November 2015 and distillate stockpiles slid by the most since 2011, the Energy Information Administration said.

Although the front-month gasoline futures contract that expires next week settled little changed at $US1.6551 a gallon, later-dated contracts including the more-heavily traded November futures rose. Despite that advance, the futures haven't closed above the key psychological barrier of $50 since late July as booming output from American shale fields countered output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.

The group is considering a range of options, including an extension of cuts, but it would be premature to decide on what to do beyond the agreement's expiry in March, Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi told an energy conference on Tuesday.

OPEC and other crude producers including Russian Federation have agreed to reduce output by about a combined 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018 to reduce global oil inventories and support prices.

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