Oil falls on unexpected build-up in U.S. stocks, dampens recovery hopes
Oil prices fell for the second day on Thursday as U.S. industry data reported a rise in crude inventories. This dampened hopes of a faster recovery in demand as countries worldwide emerge from lockdowns.
The successive declines came after the uncertainty in Russia’s commitment to further production cuts as the June 9 meeting of OPEC+ approaches.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slid 4.4%, or $1.44, at $31.37 per barrel. Brent crude futures were down 3.2%, or $1.10, at $33.64.
The American Petroleum Institute reported that crude stockpile increased by 8.7 million barrels in the week ended May 22. This differed from analysts’ expectations of a 1.9-million-barrel decline.
Gasoline stocks surged by 1.1 million barrels, ten times larger than analysts’ forecast. Heating oil and diesel stocks rose 6.9 million barrels, four times bigger than expected.
Experts said that the data showed a progressive recovery in demand. However, it is not enough for the market to be self-sustaining.
With the WTI trading above the $30-level, OPEC+ will be observing whether U.S. oil shale producers will be increasing production.