Oil slides on surprise rise in US crude oil stocks

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell Thursday after data showed U.S. crude oil inventories rose unexpectedly last week, reigniting concerns over pandemic restrictions reducing fuel demand.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 27 cents, or 0.5%, to $ 53.04 a barrel at 0147 GMT, after two days of gains on hopes of massive COVID relief spending. -19 under new US President Joe Biden.

Similarly, Brent crude futures fell 26 cents, or 0.5%, to $ 55.82 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose 2.6 million barrels in the week through January 15, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, compared analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a decline of 1.2 million barrels. [API/S]

“Oil prices look a bit vulnerable to potential profit taking after US crude oil inventories rose by 2.56 million bearish against consensus,” Stephen Innes, chief strategist, said in a note to clients. Axi market.

However, gasoline stocks and distillate stocks, which include diesel, distillate and jet fuel, rose less than analysts expected.

The US Energy Information Administration will release its weekly inventory report on Friday.

Axi’s Innes said the COVID restrictions on mobility were hurting the near-term outlook for oil demand, although traders had looked further in hopes that the vaccine implementation would ease blockages.

“At the same time, Chinese crude oil demand forecasts in the near term look high and likely to be revised downwards due to the spread of blockages in the country ahead of the Lunar New Year,” he said.

The Biden administration has pledged to reduce carbon emissions and among his first actions as president, Biden announced America’s return to the Paris climate agreement and revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project. from Canada.

The administration is also committed to ending the new oil and gas lease on federal lands, Biden’s press secretary said, although Biden has not set a timeline for achieving that goal.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Shri Navaratnam