Oil Up As US Crude Contract Expires; Eyes On Gasoline, Greece


NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - Oil reversed losses to end slightly higher on Monday as short-covering ahead of the expiry of the front-month contract in U.S. crude lifted a market burdened by concerns about creeping gasoline inventories.

Worries about the potential fallout from the Greek debt crisis also weighed on oil prices initially, offsetting positive impact from a stockpile draw at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude futures reported by oil services firm Genscape.

Brent crude settled up 32 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $63.34 a barrel, after falling almost $1 earlier.

U.S. crude closed up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $59.68 a barrel, as its front-month July contract expired and went off the board after losing nearly 70 cents at one point.

Despite the rebound, many analysts and traders were pessimistic on the market's outlook in the near term.

"It's still pretty much a bearish picture, particularly for gasoline. What we had today was just short-covering from some nervous individuals," said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

Gasoline futures fell more than 1 percent, retreating from last week's near eight-month high and leading the oil complex lower.


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