Oil Prices Decline as Investors Cash In Gains

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By Brendel Balaga

Oil gave up some of its recent gains on Thursday, as investors locked in profits following a rally which lifted prices to their highest level since July.

New York-traded crude oil for July delivery declined 82 cents, or 1.6%, to trade lower at $50.41 a barrel by 9:35AM ET. It earlier soared to an intraday peak of $51.67, the highest since July 16.

In the previous session, oil prices in New York went up 87 cents, or 1.73%, after government data showed that oil inventories in the U.S. dropped more than expected last week.

In its weekly report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that crude oil supplies fell to 532.5 million last week, shedding 3.2 million barrels. Analysts were projecting a modest decline of 2.8 million barrels.

Prices of U.S. crude futures are now above the $50 mark since plummeting to $26.05 on February 11.

In London, Brent oil for August delivery edged lower, giving up 75 cents, or 1.43%, to trade at $51.76 a barrel. It earlier hit a high of $52.86, a level last reached on October 12.

In the previous session, London-traded Brent gained $1.07, or 2.08%, after militants staged a series of attacks on the Nigeria’s oil infrastructure, easing supply glut concerns.

Meanwhile, Brent’s premium to the WTI crude contract is at $1.35 a barrel, higher than Wednesday’s $1.28.

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