Oil held losses near $36 a barrel as U.S. industry data showed crude stockpiles expanded amid a global glut.
Futures were little changed in New York after falling 3.7 percent Tuesday, the first decline in three days. Inventories climbed by 4.4 million barrels last week, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute was said to report. Government data Wednesday is forecast to also show supplies increased, keeping stockpiles at the highest level in more than eight decades.
Oil has trimmed its loss this year to 1.5 percent, climbing back after falling to a 12-year low last month on speculation a worldwide surplus will be prolonged amid brimming U.S. supplies and the outlook for a boost in exports from Iran after the removal of sanctions. Recent talks among producers from Saudi Arabia to Russia freezing output has helped boost prices, said Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery was at $36.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 5 cents, at 7:57 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract fell $1.40 to $36.50 on Tuesday. Total volume traded was about 23 percent below the 100-day average.
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Brent for May settlement decreased $1.19, or 2.9 percent, to $39.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Tuesday. The global benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $1.23 to WTI for May.
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