Oil markets open slightly lower as market weighs mixed supply signals

  div classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodivpOil futures were down slightly Thursday morning, after rising sharply in the first half of the week, as traders weighed a largerthanexpected build in U.S. oil stocks against tightening global supply.p

  pBrent futures were down 38 cents, or 0.35, at 108.38 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were off 58 cents, or 0.56, to 10.65 a barrel at 0046 GMT.pdivdivdiv classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodiv

  pBoth contracts on Wednesday had shrugged off a large build in U.S. crude inventories to end the trading session roughly 4 higher. The jump in prices came as worries of more disruptions to global supply continued to rattle the market.p

  pThe International Energy Agency on Wednesday warned that from May onwards roughly 3 million barrels per day of Russian oil could be shutin due to sanctions or voluntary embargoes.p

  pAt the same time, major global trading houses are also planning to curtail crude and fuel purchases from Russias statecontrolled oil companies in May, Reuters reported on Wednesday.p

  pDespite signals that global supply disruption will persist, oil stocks in the U.S. rose by more than 9 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, driven in part by releases from the nations strategic reserves. Analysts in a Reuters poll had anticipated just an 863,000barrel build.p

  pU.S. gasoline stocks fell 3.6 million barrels last week, far above anticipated levels, and distillate inventories also declined.

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