Oil prices edged down in Asian hours on Wednesday as an industry report said crude stockpiles rose last week, while traders awaited official data later in the session.
The US West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded 0.96 percent lower at $48.69 per barrel as of 05:00 GMT, while the London-based Brent contracts on the ICE Futures Exchange in London were down 0.93 percent to $51.30 a barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute said crude oil supplies increased by 1.78 million barrels in the week ended July 28. Analysts had forecasted a 2.9 million barrels reduction following a previous week decline of nearly 10.23 million barrels.
Data also showed gasoline reserves falling 4.8 million barrels, adding to a prior 1.9 million barrels decrease seen the prior week. Distillate products notched down by 1.22 million barrels.
The US Energy Information Administration is due to release its weekly report on crude and refined products stockpiles as of 14:30 GMT on Wednesday, with economists pointing at a 2.9 million barrels reduction. API and EIA data are not always correlated.
Market players are also keeping a moderate positioning in the light of an upcoming meeting of OPEC leaders next week in Abu Dhabi to discuss a potential expansion of output cut volumes.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and independent producers led by Russia agreed earlier this year to extend production cuts of 1.8 million barrels for a nine-month period until March 2018. However, oil prices haven’t been reacting positively to the deal.
There are still serious doubts that these measures will be able to curb the ongoing supply overhang and push prices to the upside in the short term. Especially as Reuters said OPEC continues to increase its production despite the output agreement.