Brent oil prices inched lower on Tuesday after hitting a seven-month high a day earlier, but the market momentum looked strong on a weak dollar, attacks on Nigerian oil infrastructure and falling U.S. crude inventories, analysts said.
London Brent crude for August delivery was down 13 cents at $50.42 a barrel by 0148 GMT, after settling up 91 cents on Monday. Brent touched a high of $50.83 in the previous session, its highest since Nov. 4.
NYMEX crude for July delivery was down 7 cents at $49.62 a barrel, after settling up $1.07 on Monday.
"With Brent staying above $50, oil is on an upward momentum with the restart of French refineries that were shut on strikes and pipeline attacks in Nigeria," said Kaname Gokon at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.
Preliminary work got underway on Monday to restart three of Total's French oil refineries stopped as part of nationwide strikes against planned changes to employment laws. Workers were still on strike at the country's two main oil ports.
Nigerian production of Bonny Light crude oil is down by an estimated 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) following recent attacks on pipeline infrastructure, according to an industry source close to the matter.
The dollar wallowed close to four-week lows against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, after remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen failed to toss a life buoy to the recently foundering greenback.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories likely fell for a third straight week in the week ended June 3, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday ahead of the data by the Industry group the American Petroleum Institute later in the day.
Market intelligence firm Genscape reported a drawdown of 1.08 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for WTI futures during the week to June 3, traders who saw the data said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in Beijing that concerns about China's business climate have grown due to a more complex regulatory environment and the Chinese government should open the door wider to foreign investments.