West Texas Intermediate crude swung between gains and losses after dropping the most in two weeks as gasoline and distillate inventories rose more than forecast in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures were little changed in New York after sliding 1.1 percent yesterday for the second decline in three days. Gasoline stockpiles increased by 6.72 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said. That’s more than three times the estimated gain in a Bloomberg News survey. Crude supplies fell for a second week, the EIA said.
“The reason for the decline in the WTI benchmark was higher-than-expected gasoline and distillate inventory builds,” Mark Pervan, the head of commodity research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Melbourne, said in an e-mailed note today. “The increases suggest conversion rather than end user utilization has been behind the draws in crude stocks across the last two weeks.”
WTI for January delivery was at $97.37 a barrel, down 7 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:15 a.m. Sydney time. The contract fell $1.07 to $97.44 yesterday. The volume of all futures traded was about 42 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for January settlement decreased 32 cents to $109.70 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark ended the session at a premium of $12.26 to WTI.
Distillate inventories, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, increased by 4.54 million barrels last week, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. They were projected to gain by 1.55 million, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in the Bloomberg survey.
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