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Oil prices decline on US oversupply concerns

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Oil prices fell in European trade on Thursday off three-week highs on active profit-taking.

Prices are also pressured by US oversupply concerns especially as demand weakens, while earlier initial data showed a surge in crude inventories. 

Now traders await official data from the EIA later today, expected to show an inventory buildup for the fourth week in a row. 

Global Oil Prices

US crude fell 0.9% to $77.33 a barrel, while Brent shed 0.8% to $82.45 a barrel, with a session-high at $83.46. 

On Wednesday, US crude rose 1.1%, while Brent added 0.8%, edging near three-week highs.

US Crude Stocks 

Initial data from the American Petroleum Institute showed commercial crude stocks rose by 7.2 million barrels in the week ending February 16, the third buildup in a row, while analysts expected a build of 3.5 million barrels. 

Thus total stocks rose to 449.3 million barrels, the highest since mid January, in a negative sign for US demand. 

Now traders await official EIA data today, still expected to show a build of 3.5 million barrels. 

The Fed 

The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting showed that policymakers dismissed the odds of early rate cuts unless inflation proved to be moving sustainably towards 2%.

Following the minutes, the odds of a 0.25% US interest rate cut in March tumbled to just 4.5%, while the odds for a May cut fell to 37%, as the odds for a June cut fell to 71%.

Higher US rates hurt growth and economic performance and could weigh on fuel demand. 

Source: Economies.com 

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