Oil prices were little changed on Thursday as a drop in crude exports from OPEC’s defacto leader Saudi Arabia and a draw in U.S. oil inventories supported prices, while the strengthening dollar and weak equities kept futures in check.
Brent crude futures were at $71.70 a barrel by 11:24 a.m. EDT (1524 GMT), up 8 cents from their last close and near Wednesday’s five-month high of $72.27 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 10 cents at $63.66 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels per day just under 7 million bpd in February from the month before, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).
U.S. crude, gasoline and distillate inventories fell last week, with crude posting an unexpected drawdown and its first in four weeks, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed on Wednesday, which also helped support prices.