Crude oil just hit $50 for the first time in 5 weeks

OPEC may attract new members to oil production cut deal

Brent prices rose "on signs of stronger demand and tightening OECD inventories as signaled by today's monthly IEA report", said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

Oil prices steadied on Thursday, holding on to most of their recent gains after forecasts for stronger oil demand by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, said the weekly drop was the largest in history and that the storms were to blame.

USA gasoline stocks slumped by 8.4 million barrels, the largest weekly decline since the data was first recorded in 1990.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russian Federation have pledged to reduce crude output by about 1.8 million barrels a day through March to trim global oil inventories and buttress prices.

USA crude futures added to gains late in the session, boosted by expectations of a steady rebound in refining capacity. Opec crude output fell in August for the first time in five months, after renewed turmoil in Libya disrupted supply and others pumped less, IEA data showed.

The global surplus of crude and stocks over the five-year average fell to 190 million barrels.

"We expect crude prices to be stuck in somewhat of a holding pattern until we have Gulf Coast refineries brought back to full capacity".

But the EIA also reported that total domestic USA crude output jumped by 572,000 barrels a day to 9.353 million barrels.

United States crude was up $1.04, or 2.2 percent, to $49.27 per barrel and Brent crude was up 84 cents to $55.11 a barrel by 2:04 p.m. ET (1804 GMT).

The EIA also revealed that US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 5.9 million barrels from the previous week.

Oil prices were subjected to choppy trading following the latest EIA inventories release with the larger than expected increase in oil inventories offset by a record decline in gasoline stocks. The IEA said it is time to reexamine the region's energy security with the USA adding refined products to the country's strategic petroleum reserves alongside crude.

Futures slipped 0.5%in NY after rising 1.2% Monday.

Neil Atkinson, head of the oil industry and markets division for the IEA, told CNBC that "pretty robust" demand indicates that a rebalancing of the market is "underway". Growth is forecast to average 700,000 b/d in 2017 and almost 1.5 mb/d in 2018 as higher production from Canada and the North Sea offsets weaker U.S. and Brazilian estimates.

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