Investing.com - U.S. crude oil inventories fell less than expected last week, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Friday.
The EIA data showed that crude oil inventories decreased by 0.046 million barrels in the week to Dec. 21.
That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile draw of 2.87 million barrels, after a drop of 0.5 million barrels in the previous week.
The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories rose by 3.003 million barrels, compared to expectations for a build of 0.03 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased by 0.002 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a draw of 0.53 million.
Data was released later than usual due to the Christmas holiday. The EIA is not affected by the partial government shutdown because it already has appropriations for fiscal 2019.
U.S. crude prices slipped 0.04% to $44.59 a barrel by 11:05 AM ET (16:05 GMT), compared to $44.63 prior to the publication.
London-traded Brent crude futures fell 0.87% to $52.27 a barrel, compared to $52.41 ahead of the release.
Oil prices were down as much as 4% on Thursday following a turbulent session on the Wall Street that saw the Dow plunge more than 600 points at one point.
“For the time being, the stock market and the oil market will echo each other,” said Ahn Yea-Ha, commodity analyst at Kiwoom Securities in Seoul. “Global economic slowdown worries have been weighing on stock market movements, and oil prices are not free from those concerns.”
Faced with oversupplies from record high U.S., Saudi and Russian production, OPEC pledged on Dec. 7 to cut 1.2 million barrels per day in global oil output over the next six months under its enlarged OPEC+ pact that does not include the United States.
However, in the three weeks since that announcement, oil prices have only fallen further, hitting 18-month lows, as fears of a global economic slowdown and the possibility of a protracted U.S. government shutdown added to concerns.
Markets will be closed on Tuesday for the New Year's Holiday and trading is expected to be light on Monday.
-- Reuters contributed to this report