OIL PRICES: ABOVE $50
According to REUTERS, oil prices rose in early Asian trading on Wednesday, with U.S. crude joining Brent above $50 a barrel after data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed a larger than expected draw on stocks.
U.S. crude futures' August contract, the new front month from Wednesday, had climbed 9 cents to $49.94 a barrel by 0223 GMT. Earlier it rose to as high as $50.54, marking the first time it had risen above $50 since June 10.
Brent crude futures were up 4 cents at $50.66 a barrel, after settling down 3 cents at $50.62 on Tuesday.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.2 million barrels for the week ended June 17, the API said. The trade group's figures were triple the draw of 1.7 million barrels forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration will issue official stockpile data on Wednesday.
Markets remain jumpy over the possibility the United Kingdom will vote to leave the European Union on Thursday in a referendum, with polls showing little difference between the "remain" and "leave" camps.
The dollar clung to modest gains early on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen held the line of "gradual increases" in U.S. rates, while sterling's short-covering rally lost momentum a day ahead of the referendum.
Japan's Nikkei was down nearly 0.7 percent in early trading, while gold prices edged lower.
"Strengthening in the dollar and weakness in other currencies would ... be directionally short-term bearish for crude oil" in the event of a British exit, Societe Generale said in a research note.
A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive because it raises the cost for imports for most of the world's countries.
Still, fundamentals could come into play once the dust settles from the vote.
"Global demand growth is quite robust, driven by the U.S., China, India and other emerging markets," Societe Generale said. "On the supply side, declining U.S. crude production is expected to underpin a trend of lower non-OPEC production."
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BLOOMBERG - While Europe as a whole gets more than a third of its gas from Russia, that share is lower in the U.K., which receives the bulk of its fuel from North Sea fields and Norway. Still, Moscow-based Gazprom PJSC was the second-biggest supplier to major industrial consumers in the U.K. last year, according to Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem.
FT - of the six LNG tankers that have made deliveries into the UK so far in 2018 three have carried cargoes originally from Russia, leading to questions about whether Moscow was gaining a foothold in the UK gas market after starting up the Yamal LNG facility in Siberia late last year.
REUTERS - So far this year, two Yamal cargoes unloaded at British terminals for domestic consumption, accounting for about a third of Britain’s 2018 LNG imports after typical supplier Qatar pre-sold the bulk of its winter output to Asia last year.
REUTERS - U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $60.77 a barrel at 0753 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous settlement. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $64.62 per barrel, down just 2 cents from their last close.