West Texas Intermediate fell amid speculation that U.S. oil demand is slowing after a government report showed weekly crude inventories expanded for the first time since June. Brent declined on signs the euro area’s economic recovery stalled.
Futures slid as much as 0.5 percent in New York and 0.8 percent in London. Crude stockpiles increased by 1.4 million barrels to 367 million last week, the Energy Information Administration reported yesterday. Supplies were forecast to decline by 2.05 million, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will reopen its largest oil export terminal within days, according to the country’s National Oil Corp.
“The numbers yesterday did show pronounced crude builds,’ Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, said by e-mail. ‘‘We are nearing an end to the summer driving season, and macro numbers and activity are also starting to soften.’’
WTI for September delivery fell as much as 52 cents to $97.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $97.41 at 1:08 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was about 16 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have dropped 1 percent this year.
Brent for September settlement, which expires today, slid as much as 81 cents to $103.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and last traded at $103.61. The October contract was down 70 cents at $104.36 a barrel. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.06 to WTI for September on ICE. The spread closed at $6.69 yesterday, widening for the first time in four days.
Gross domestic product in the euro area in the three months through June was unchanged from the first quarter, when it increased 0.2 percent, Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg, said today. The median of 37 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey was for growth of 0.1 percent.
Gasoline stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, shrank by 1.16 million barrels to 212.7 million in the week ended Aug. 8, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Supplies were forecast to decline by 1.5 million, according to the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of 10 analysts.
Distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 2.42 million barrels to 122.5 million, the report shows. A drop of 50,000 barrels was projected.
Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures and the largest U.S. oil-storage hub, climbed by 418,000 barrels to 18.4 million. That’s the biggest percentage gain since January.
In Libya, the Es Sider port is scheduled to start loading crude in days, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman at state-run National Oil Corp. The facility, along with Ras Lanuf, was handed over last month by rebels seeking self-rule in the eastern regions. All other Libyan terminals were open except for Zueitina, where workers were engaged in a dispute with management, Elharari said yesterday.
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