Oil held a gain near $69 as a drop in U.S. gasoline inventories outweighed an increase in the nation's crude stockpiles.
Futures in New York were little changed after rising 1 percent Wednesday. Gasoline held in U.S. storage tanks dropped by the most since May and fuel demand increased, Energy Information Administration data showed. Those factors overshadowed the biggest increase in American crude inventories since April.
West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery, which expires Friday, traded at $69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 24 cents, at 9:22 a.m. in Tokyo. The contract added 68 cents to $68.76 on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 66 percent below the 100-day average. The more-active September contract climbed 0.2 percent to $67.91 a barrel.
Brent for September settlement traded at $73.01 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 11 cents. Prices rose 74 cents on Wednesday to close at $72.90. The global benchmark traded at a $5.10 premium to WTI for the same month.