October 31, 2019 / 12:53 AM / a month ago

Oil prices extend fall after surprise inventory build

TOKYO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell for a fourth day on Wednesday, extending losses after a surge in U.S. inventories surprised investors, overshadowing an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Brent crude futures were down 6 cents at $60.55 a barrel by 0033 GMT, having fallen by 1.6% on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down by 16 cents, 0.3%, at $54.90 a barrel, after declining 0.9%.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for a third time this year and signalled it plans no further cuts unless the economy takes a turn for the worse.

While a rate cut can often be bullish for oil prices because a stronger economy typically implies higher demand for crude, investors focused on soaring U.S. crude oil stockpiles amid higher imports and a release from national reserves.

“Oversupply concerns are dampening the optimistic outlook to the economy that the Fed painted,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Crude inventories rose 5.7 million barrels in the week to Oct. 25, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 494,000-barrel build.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, had reported a 708,000-barrel decline in inventories, raising hopes that official figures would also show a drop.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose for a fourth straight week, gaining 1.6 million barrels last week, the EIA said.

Still, gasoline and distillate inventories extended their declines even as refiners ramped up production, it said.

Gasoline stocks fell by 3 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.2 million-barrel drop. The fifth weekly drop brought stocks down to 220.1 million barrels, their lowest since Nov. 2017.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, declined for a sixth week in a row, falling 1 million barrels last week, versus expectations for a 2.4 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Richard Pullin)

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