Oil climbs as draw in U.S. crude stocks boosts optimism about demand


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    * U.S. crude, gasoline stockpiles slump last week-EIA
    * Iran says U.S. to lift oil sanctions, U.S. says nothing
    * OPEC+ meeting on July 1 set to discuss further easing of

    By Yuka Obayashi
    TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices climbed on Thursday
after a sharp drawdown in U.S. crude and gasoline stocks
reinforced optimism of a quick recovery in fuel demand and on
doubts about the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that could
end U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports.
    Brent crude  LCOc1  futures rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $75.28
a barrel by 0103 GMT, after increasing 0.5% on Wednesday. 
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude  CLc1  futures
gained 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $73.14 a barrel, after rising 0.3%
on Wednesday.
    Both benchmarks hit their highest since October 2018 on 
Wednesday, but they pared gains later in the session as energy
traders locked in profit after the U.S. inventory report, Edward
Moya, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA, said in a
report. Prices resumed climbing in Asia trade on Thursday.
    U.S. crude inventories  USOILC=ECI  fell by 7.6 million
barrels in the week to June 18 to 459.1 million barrels, their
lowest since March 2020, the U.S. Energy Information
Administration said. The drawdown was nearly double analysts'
expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.9 million-barrel drop.
 EIA/S  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N2O51J2
    U.S. gasoline stocks  USOILG=ECI  fell by 2.9 million
barrels in the week, against analysts' expectations for an
833,000-barrel rise. ¿
    "Oil prices were lifted by the U.S. inventory data which
confirmed the strong outlook for higher fuel demand in the
second half of this year, backed by a recovery in road and air
travel," said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at
Nissan Securities. 
    "Behind the rally is also a view that there are still gaps
in the talks over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal," he said.
    Iran said on Wednesday the United States had agreed to
remove all sanctions on Iran's oil and shipping but Washington
said "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" in talks to
revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N2O516Y
    "We may see a short-term correction ahead of the OPEC+
meeting, but the market trend will remain bullish due to
tightening supply-demand balance," Kikukawa said.    
    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
its allies (OPEC+), which meet on July 1, have been discussing a
further unwinding of last year's record output cuts from August
but no decision has been made, two OPEC+ sources said on
Tuesday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N2O40JQ

 (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
 ((Yuka.Obayashi@thomsonreuters.com; +813-4520-1265;))

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