Oil declined as rising U.S. crude stockpiles kept supplies at the highest level in more than eight decades.
Futures slid as much as 0.9 percent in New York after closing little changed Wednesday. Inventories expanded for a seventh week to 534.8 million barrels, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. Imports and production dropped. Ecuador and Venezuela will support a cut to output at a meeting between major exporters in Doha next month, Ecuador’s Oil Minister Carlos Pareja said in a post on the ministry’s Twitter account.
Oil tumbled to a 12-year low this year before rebounding toward a 13 percent gain this month on speculation the global surplus will ease as U.S. output declines. Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela agreed in February they would cap production at January levels if other producers followed suit to tackle the oversupply. They’ll meet again with other countries in Doha on April 17.
“The rally was overdone and the expectation is for a further moderation of prices,” Michael McCarthy, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “While the outlook is more constructive for energy markets over the next 12 months, the current supply imbalance and the huge inventories mean it’s very hard to get too positive on oil prices anytime soon.”
West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell as much as 36 cents to $37.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $37.99 at 8:40 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract gained 4 cents to $38.32 Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 56 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are 2.5 percent higher this quarter.
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Brent for May settlement fell 22 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $39.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices have gained 8.5 percent this month and 4.7 percent this quarter. The global benchmark crude is trading at a premium of $1.04 to WTI.
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