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June 3, 2021, 2:40 p.m. EDT

Oil futures settle a bit lower, with U.S. prices just below a more than 2-year high

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By Myra P. Saefong

Oil futures inched lower on Thursday, with U.S. prices down just two pennies from a more than two-year high. Prices found support from a more than 5 million-barrel decline in last week’s U.S. crude supplies, but government data also revealed an unexpected climb in gasoline inventories. The oil market in the short term is likely "slightly overbought and the risk...is to the downside," said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. Traders have been concerned about a loss in oil demand, given the worrisome number of COVID cases in India, the third largest consumer of crude oil, as well as the prospect of a deal with Iran that may bring back Iranian oil to the market later in the year, said Zahir. West Texas Intermediate oil for July delivery shed 2 cents, or 0.03%, to settle at $68.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Front-month contract prices ended at $68.83 on Wednesday, their highest since October 2018, according to FactSet.

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