Oil prices build on strong gains
Oil prices climbed further on Thursday, still supported by a large drop in US crude inventories, though gains were capped by concerns surrounding the outlook for global energy demand, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November rose 86 cents to $80.54 a barrel, a day after surging by four dollars.
Brent North Sea crude for November climbed 32 cents to $103.05 in London trading.
Oil prices rallied Wednesday on the back of a large and unexpected drop in crude stockpiles for the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer.
"Given the uncertain prospects for the global economy and eurozone debt issue, it's not unusual for some pullback in oil after making some substantial gains overnight," Victor Shum, an analyst at energy consultants Purvin and Gertz, told AFP.
Official data published Wednesday showed that US crude stockpiles dived 4.7 million barrels last week, which compared with analyst forecasts for a rise of 700,000 barrels.
"This occurred primarily because crude imports were much lower, more than compensating for the slight drop in refinery utilisation," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said Thursday.
He added that "more pressing factors such as the general mood on the financial markets and economic expectations have been and remain more important" for the oil market.
"In view of the prevailing threats to the economy, it is unlikely that the drop in inventories reported yesterday will have any lasting impact on oil prices.
"Once concern about the economy gains the upper hand again, oil should come under renewed pressure. Consequently, the US labour market data due out tomorrow (Friday) and the continuing euro debt crisis can be expected to have more influence than the inventory data," Fritsch said.
© 2011 AFP