Oil price rallies on US inventory figures

Emma Haslett
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Finally, a bit of good news for oil investors: the black stuff was up almost $1 a barrel, or 1.92 per cent, in afternoon trading, after figures showed US inventories had declined for the second week in a row, while Saudi Arabia announced plans to raise prices - but only for its Asian customers .

Brent crude was up 79 cents, or 1.58 per cent, to $50.78 a barrel in afternoon trading, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, the US benchmark, rose 1.42 per cent to $46.39.

Read more: Brent crude falls towards $49 a barrel

The rise came after closely-watched figures from the US Energy Information Administration showed stockpiles of US crude had fallen by 4.4m barrels to 455.3m barrels in the week to the end of July. That's the second time the figure has fallen, and more than twice the 1.6m barrel fall forecast by analysts.

However, production kept rising, hitting 9.47m barrels in the week to Friday, from 9.41m in the previous week.

Meanwhile, Saudi Saramco, the state oil producer of the world's Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, raised its official selling price (OSP) to Asian customers thanks to rising demand.

"Given the reduction in rigs, coupled with price-sensitive demand increases coming during driving season, it is not a surprise that inventories continue to fall," said Josh Mahony, an analyst at IG.

"While oil prices spike off this news, we are unlikely to see an end to the current global oversupply issue, and thus and upside is likely to be short-lived for now," added Mahony.