Industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) said late yesterday that US crude stockpiles fell last week by 482,000 barrels due to lower imports and higher refinery runs.
               
This helped push front-month US crude futures up 31 cents from their last settlement to USD40.98 a barrel at 0120 GMT. The gain followed an over USD1 fall during the previous session.
               
"Any surprising pick up in refinery utilization may drive the oil price higher in the short term," ANZ bank said today.
               
Official inventory data is due later today from the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
               
Internationally traded Brent crude futures were up 33 cents at USD43.90 per barrel.
               
Despite the slight gains today, most analysts expect prices to remain at low levels for the rest of the year and into 2016 as production continues to outpace demand.
      
Analyst estimates for oversupply in 2015 range from 0.7 to 2.5 million barrels of oil being produced per day in excess of demand.

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