Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, aided by a drop in the dollar, although rising supplies of crude oil in the United States kept the futures market in a tight range.
Crude oil stocks in the United States rose by 2.5 million barrels last week to above the five-year seasonal average, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), trumping expectations for a drop of 2.3 millions.
U.S. September crude futures were 31 cents higher at $49.50 by 1001 EDT, having fallen by $1.67 on Wednesday to settle below $50 for the first time since April.
Brent crude was up 11 cents at $56.24 a barrel.
The price of Brent has fallen by about 12 percent in July, its largest monthly fall since March, pummelled by concern about the ability of the global economy to absorb a surplus of oil.
The oil glut looks set to grow as an Iranian nuclear deal with the West is expected to release millions of barrels of additional supply onto world markets.
“The issue is the surplus in oil rising despite (evidence of seasonal demand) so (oil) is finding some pressure coming from that surplus,” Natixis energy analyst Abhishek Deshpande said.