Oil prices surrendered the early gains that developed after Saudi Arabia hiked prices and Chinese data showed a rebound in crude imports.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday raisd prices for almost grades for June, according to Bloomberg, sending prices rallying.
The gains were supported by data showing Beijing imported 42.82 million tons of crude oil in April, or the equivalent of 10.42 million barrels per day, according to Reuters calculations. That represented a 7.64 percent increase from March, but was below the 10.64 million barrels from April 2019.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, fell 1.83 percent to $23.55 a barrel after surging more than 10 percent to a session high of $27.79. Brent crude, the international standard, slid 0.87 percent to $29.46 after trading as high as $31.84.
CORONAVIRUS REOPENING PLAN DEALS LAS VEGAS CASINOS A LOSING HAND
Crude prices snapped their five-day winning streak on Wednesday as U.S. inventories swelled for a 15th consecutive week. Stockpiles rose by 4.6 million barrels in the week ended May 1, according to the Energy Information Administration, less than the 7.76 million that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.
The winning streak, which came as states started easing “stay-at-home” orders and as the world’s largest producers began implementing output cuts, ignited a 115 percent increase in WTI prices and a 36 percent jump in Brent prices.
OIL PRICES RALLY AS MORE STATES REOPEN ECONOMIES
Oil traders will get a glimpse into the health of the U.S. economy on Friday when the April jobs report is released. More than 32 million people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits over the past six weeks.
Higher unemployment means fewer workers commuting and weaker demand for oil and byproducts like gasoline and jet fuel.
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“My bet is we'll see much higher prices by the end of the year,” Tom Kloza, OPIS chief oil analyst, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. “The question is what happens in the next 40 days. There's a lot of oil on the water and it's pressuring prices to some extent.”