Oil prices edge ahead

London: Oil prices inched higher Thursday as a weaker dollar and an easing supply glut offset lacklustre Chinese economic data that raised concerns about demand in the world´s top energy consuming nation.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June gained 18 cents to stand at $66.99 a barrel in London afternoon trade.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery inched up six cents to $60.56 compared with Wednesday´s close.

The euro rallied to three-month peaks against the dollar Thursday on bright eurozone economic growth data and disappointing US numbers, aiding demand for commodities such as oil priced in the US currency.

Crude futures won support also from official data Wednesday showing that crude US stockpiles dropped 2.2 million barrels last week.

It was the second straight week of declines, and was much larger than the 250,000-barrel decrease expected by analysts.

However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said this week that a global supply glut blamed for the recent plunge in oil prices remains as producers raise their output to make up for a cut in US shale production.

Meanwhile, “the global demand situation for oil is considerably weaker” following this week´s poorly-received economic data out of China, according to Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist with CMC Markets in Sydney.