Oil prices ease after biggest gain in 2 months

London (Jun 30)  Oil prices eased in early trading on Thursday, giving back ground after their biggest gain in more than two months.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in August CLQ6, -1.52%  fell 39 cents, or 0.8%, to $49.49 a barrel. August Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange LCOQ6, -1.17%  fell 44 cents, or 0.8%, to $50.20 a barrel.

The retreat follows the biggest rally for U.S.-traded crude prices since early April, after oil stockpiles there posted a bigger-than-expected drop of 4.1 million barrels in the most recent week. Elevated oil inventories in the U.S. have been a key driver of the two-year slump in oil prices.

“We had that big move overnight,” said Stuart Ive, private-client manager at OM Financial. “That’s been a good opportunity for some people to lock in profits as we near the end of the week.”

Oil prices could see some volatility ahead as traders look to square their books ahead of the second quarter’s end, he said.

The Iraqi military's fight to retake Fallujah from Islamic State took about five weeks. Several factors contributed to the speed of the operation.

Commodities and other risky assets have taken a hit in the wake of last week’s referendum by the U.K. to leave the European Union. Analysts say the move could lead to weaker economic growth and diminished oil demand, though any formal exit is still likely years away.

Read: 10 things that might change your mind about Brexit

Many assets, from commodities to stocks, have staged at least a partial recovery in recent days.

“There does seem to be a relative calming of the waters” since the vote, Ive said. “The process is obviously going to be very long.”

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for July RBN6, -0.57%  — the benchmark gasoline contract — fell 0.3% to $1.52 a gallon.

Source: Reuters