The US Energy Information Administration reported a 1.527 million barrel drawdown in crude stockpiles last week. The consensus of analysts was calling for a 2.957 million barrel decline during the period. Refinery capacity utilization increased to 95.40%, compared to expectations for a decline to 94.10%, while refinery inputs rose 123,000 barrels per day to 17.40 million. Brent crude futures have broken above the key psychological level of $50.00 a barrel.
However, the short-term upside could be capped on the back of ongoing high supplies from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and production in the US that is still rising. Data compiled by Thomson Reuters showed crude shipments by OPEC and Russia hitting a year-to-date high of 32.000 million bpd in July, up from 30.500 million bpd in January. Brent futures were last seen trading around $52.10 a barrel, pulling back from earlier session highs.