Oil traded near the highest level in three months as rising U.S. gasoline demand trimmed supplies of the fuel to the lowest since January.
Futures were little changed in New York after gaining 4.9 percent Wednesday. Consumption of the fuel was at the highest level since September the past four weeks, reducing gasoline inventories for a third week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. U.S. output was steady while stockpiles expanded, keeping supplies at the most since 1930. Nigerian oil exports are set to drop to a two-year low after a terminal shutdown.
Oil has recouped its losses this year after slumping to a 12-year low last month amid speculation stronger demand and falling U.S. production will ease a supply glut. The time and date of a meeting among major producers including Saudi Arabia to discuss freezing output remains uncertain, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, according to a report from Interfax.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery was at $38.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 8 cents, at 9:01 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract gained $1.79 to $38.29 on Wednesday, the highest close since Dec. 4. Total volume traded was about 60 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for May settlement lost 20 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $40.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract on Wednesday climbed $1.42, or 3.6 percent, to $41.07 a barrel. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of 93 cents to WTI for May.