Oil prices declined today as data suggesting a smaller-than-expected fall in US crude inventories countered support from hopes for a US-China trade deal. 

Brent crude futures were down 51 cents at $61.63 a barrel this afternoon. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 25 cents to $53.65 a barrel. It had recorded its biggest daily rise since early January yesterday. 

After weeks of swelling, US crude stocks fell by 812,000 barrels last week to 482 million, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday, a smaller fall than the 1.1-million-barrel drop analysts had expected. 

US President Donald Trump also offered some support, saying preparations were starting for him to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. 

Trump has repeatedly threatened to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods. 

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also offered a boost, saying yesterday that the central bank would ease policy again if inflation failed to accelerate. 

But tensions remain high in the Middle East after last week's tanker attacks. 

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted, with Washington blaming Tehran, which has denied any role. 

Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Iran having a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would approve the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies. 

Oil markets today shrugged off a rocket attack on a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies.  

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have agreed to meet on July 1, followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on July 2, after weeks of wrangling over dates. 

OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out this month.