Crude oil holds steady as Russian supply and a rising dollar counter American crude draw

The price of oil held steady in early Asian trade on Thursday as a smaller-than-expected reduction in Russian supplies and a stronger dollar countered an unexpected decrease in U.S. crude oil stocks that had buoyed prices. The price of Brent crude futures was unchanged at $78.28 per barrel. To reach $72.91 a barrel, West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude dropped 6 cents or 0.1%. The U.S.

crude oil stockpiles unexpectedly decreased last week as refineries increased production during maintenance season and imports dropped to a two-year low, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday. This helped to sustain prices. In contrast to analysts’ predictions in a Reuters poll for a 100,000-barrel increase, crude inventories decreased by 7.5 million barrels in the week ending March 24 to reach 473.7 million barrels.

Meanwhile, news that Russian crude production decreased by approximately 300,000 barrels per day in the first three weeks of March, less than the projected cutbacks of 500,000 bpd, and a stronger U.S. currency reversed oil price gains. The dollar index, which often trades opposite to oil, was 0.18% higher on Wednesday at 102.67, moving away from the nearly seven-week low hit late last week.

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