Oil prices edged lower in choppy trade on Thursday as concerns over rising coronavirus infections in major crude oil importers India and Japan offset U.S. oil inventory data showing a larger than expected drawdown in crude stocks last week.
Brent crude oil futures for July settlement slipped 0.1 percent to $68.89 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for June delivery were down 0.1 percent at $65.55.
Both contracts hit their highest since mid-March on Wednesday, before retreating to end on a flat note following two days of gains.
India today reported a new high of 4,12,262 new COVID cases and 3,980 deaths, taking the country's tally to 2,10,77,410, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Elsewhere, Tokyo needs to extend the current state of emergency as the number of new coronavirus infections has continued to increase, Governor Yuriko Koike said.
On the positive side, data released by Energy Information Administration showed crude oil inventories dropped by 7.99 million barrels last week, more than three times the expected decline.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 2.896 million barrels in the week versus expectations for a draw of 1.12 million barrels, the EIA report revealed.
However, gasoline inventories were up 737,000 barrels in the week compared to expectations for a draw of 652,000 barrels.