Oil held the biggest loss in six weeks as rising U.S. crude stockpiles kept supplies at the highest level in more than eight decades.
Futures dropped as much as 0.9 percent in New York after slumping 4 percent Wednesday, the most since Feb. 11. Inventories rose by more than three times what was projected in a Bloomberg survey, while imports last week increased to the highest since June 2013, Energy Information Administration data showed. Iraq will attend a meeting between major exporters in Doha next month, according to an oil ministry spokesman.
“It’s a globally oversupplied market,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “U.S. imports were very strong, and as a consequence, there was a very big build in crude inventories. On the positive side, we do seem to have a gradual, trending decline in production.”
Oil tumbled to a 12-year low this year before rebounding on speculation the global surplus will ease as U.S. production declined. Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate and the nation’s biggest oil-storage hub, dropped for the first time in eight weeks, falling from a record, EIA data showed Wednesday.
WTI for May delivery slid as much as 34 cents to $39.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $39.52 at 8:29 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract fell $1.66 to $39.79 Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 40 percent below the 100-day average. Front-month prices are up 0.2 percent this week, heading for a sixth weekly advance.
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Brent for May settlement was 18 cents lower at $40.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract declined $1.32 to $40.47 on Wednesday. The global benchmark crude was at a 77-cent premium to WTI.
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