REUTERS

Oil slipped on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories that reignited pandemic-led demand concerns, but stimulus hopes in the United States limited the downturn in prices.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 24 cents, or 0.5%, to $53.07 a barrel at 0500 GMT, following two days of gains on expectations of massive COVID-19 relief spending under new U.S. President Joe Biden, as reported by Reuters.

Read alsoTo support Ukraine: U.S. State Dep. explains new sanctions against Nord Stream 2Brent crude futures dropped 22 cents, or 0.4%, to $55.86 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose 2.6 million barrels in the week to January 15, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, compared with analysts' forecasts in a Reuters poll for a fall of 1.2 million barrels.

However gasoline stocks and distillate inventories, which include diesel, distillate and jet fuel, rose by less than analysts had expected.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is due to release its weekly inventory report on Friday.

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