By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices inched higher on Thursday after a data report showed a decrease in U.S. crude inventories, but rising gasoline stocks and crude production weighed on the market.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $56.18 a barrel at 0424 GMT, up 22 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures (LCOc1), the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $61.49 a barrel, up 27 cents, or 0.44 percent.
Traders said the higher prices came as U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 1, to 448.1 million barrels
The slightly higher prices also came after a big sell-off in late U.S. trading.
"WTI prices cratered (on Wednesday) despite a drop in weekly crude inventories ... Traders were more concerned about the steep rise in gasoline inventories," said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.
"This suggests that refiners may not need to process as much crude in the future," ANZ said in a note on Thursday.
"The EIA report also showed that U.S. production increased again," the bank said.
U.S. crude production
Soaring U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to bring production and demand into balance following years of oversupply.
Sukrit Vijayakar, managing director of energy consultancy Trifecta warned there were "darker shadows over the pace of rebalancing, if at all any is taking place."
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