Oil tallies 6-session climb to end at a more than two-week high

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By

MyraP. Saefong

Markets/commodities reporter

RachelKoning Beals

News editor

Crude-oil prices tallied a sixth-straight gain Thursday, a day after U.S. data revealed a sizable weekly decline in domestic crude production.

But returns were modest, as some analysts pointed out that the crude output decline is likely temporary, given the effect of storm disruptions to activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Others pondered whether the slide in prices was at last putting at least a dent in the U.S. shale ramp up.

Meanwhile, prices for natural gas settled lower, pulling back after a five-session rally, despite data showing a smaller-than-expected weekly rise in U.S. stockpiles of the fuel.

August West Texas Intermediate crude CLQ7, +0.65% added 19 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $44.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest finish since June 13, FactSet data show. Brent oil for August delivery LCOQ7, +0.63% which expires at Friday’s settlement, rose 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $47.42 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Month to date, WTI and Brent have trimmed their sharp losses to a still substantial 6.9% and 5.7%, based on FactSet data tracking the most-active contracts.

The resiliency and the increasing efficiency demonstrated by U.S. producers has helped to undercut efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to lower global inventories. Since January, when OPEC members and Russia began cutting output, oil prices have fallen more than 16% and the glut has remained.

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