Crude prices traded in a narrow range on Thursday as optimism over equity markets helped offset a surprise increase in U.S. oil inventory levels and a firm U.S. dollar.
A respite from bearish economic news in China, where markets are closed for public holidays for the rest of the week, also helped hold oil prices rangebound after weeks of huge swings.
Brent LCOc1 slipped 15 cents to $50.35 a barrel by 1126 GMT, having gained 94 cents in the previous session.
U.S. crude CLc1 fell 2 cents to $46.23 a barrel, up from the day’s low of $45.65 and after settling 84 cents higher on Wednesday.
Olivier Jakob, managing director of PetroMatrix, said the market was quietening down after extreme moves, with holidays in the two largest oil consuming countries – the United States and China – helping temper the appetite for risk taking.
“We’re probably starting to stabilize” after several days of flat price volatility, Jakob said, adding that the U.S. Labor Day long weekend would “lessen a little bit the appetite” for taking positions in the market.