Crude oil prices drop over rise in US oil inventories

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Futures edged lower from the settlement in New York after the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles increased 4.85 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the data. Analysts had forecast a 1 million-barrel decline in oil supplies, according to a Bloomberg survey.

At the same time, stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key storage hub, grew by 2.37 million barrels. If the EIA data confirms a build of that size, it would be the largest since February.

“If confirmed tomorrow, this continues to show very adequate supplies and likely continues to limit any price upside,” said Kyle Cooper, a consultant at Ion Energy Group in Houston.

Crude slipped into a bear market last week and concerns remain that the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the largest oil users, will hurt fuel demand. Meanwhile, anticipation is building ahead of an upcoming meeting between Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies and traders are waiting to see if the group will continue to reduce oil output. The date of the meeting has yet to be decided.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported U.S. crude inventory builds for three out of the last four weeks of data. That’s a bearish indicator, said Tariq Zahir, a commodity fund manager at New York-based Tyche Capital Advisors LLC, since drawdowns of stockpiles normally occur this time of year.

West Texas Intermediate futures traded at $53.07 a barrel at 4:50 p.m. in New York after settling at $53.27 a barrel.

Brent for August settlement was unchanged at $62.29 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange.

The API also reported gasoline supplies rose 829,000 barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles declined 3.46 million barrels.

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