London — Oil steadied on Thursday as growing expectations that global supply could fall significantly short of demand this year lent support, offsetting the negative impact of a rise in US inventories. Brent crude oil futures were last down 12c at $62.57 a barrel by 10.22am GMT, while US crude futures were down 7c at $53.94 a barrel. The oil price came under pressure earlier in the day following weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday that showed an unwelcome increase in stocks of crude oil. Still, some analysts were relieved that US crude oil inventories only rose by 1.3-million barrels in the week to February 1, according to the EIA, compared with expectations for an increase of 2.2-million barrels. PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga pointed out that the rise in crude inventory masked a bullish decline in stocks of refined products. “The weekly report from the EIA on US oil stocks was bullish for outright prices, plain and simple. The la...

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