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Crude oil prices were pushing lower on Thursday after a surprise rise in US inventories knocked the American benchmark from its highest levels in nearly a month on Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate was down 0.5 per cent in morning Asia trading at $50.91 a barrel, continuing a drop that saw it pare back an intraday gain of 1.7 per cent to close just 0.2 per cent higher on Wednesday.

The global benchmark, Brent crude, was likewise down half a per cent at $54.10 a barrel as trading got underway.

The dip follows data from the US Department of Energy showing the country’s crude stockpiles rose 1.6m barrels last week as refineries processed more oil, contrary to analyst expectations of another drop after inventories fell 1.8m barrels the week prior.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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