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Oil pushes higher; Brent hits $50 for first time since early June

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Oil prices were higher in North American trade on Thursday, with Brent futures hitting the $50-level for the first time in around six weeks.

Brent oil for September delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London tacked on 29 cents, or around 0.6%, to $49.98 a barrel by 8:15AM ET (1215GMT). It touched its highest since June 7 at $50.05 earlier.

Elsewhere, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude September contract was at $47.55 a barrel, up 23 cents, or about 0.5%, after rising to a six-week peak of $47.61 earlier in the session.

Oil prices finished higher for the second session in a row on Wednesday, after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a large drop in domestic crude and gasoline supplies.

U.S. oil inventories fell by 4.7 million barrels at the end of last week to 490.6 million barrels, more than the expected drop of around 3.2 million barrels.

The report also showed that gasoline inventories decreased by 4.4 million barrels, compared to expectations for a much more modest decline of 0.7 million barrels.

Despite recent gains, concerns over rising global supplies remained on investors' minds.

A ministerial committee from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which is headed by Gulf OPEC member Kuwait, will meet in Russia on July 24 to discuss compliance with the cartel's deal to cut production.

In May, OPEC and some non-OPEC producers extended an agreement to slash 1.8 million barrels per day in supply until March 2018. So far, the agreement has had little impact on global inventory levels due to rising supply from producers not participating in the accord, such as Libya and Nigeria.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for August was up around half a cent to $1.620 a gallon, while August heating oil added 0.9 cents to $1.560 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for August delivery tacked on 0.5 cents to $3.071 per million British thermal units, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data due later in the global day.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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