Crude Oil Futures Settle Lower As Inventories Rise

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Crude oil futures settled lower on Wednesday, weighed down by data showing another jump in U.S. crude stockpiles, and on concerns over outlook for energy demand amid a slowdown in vaccination in several parts of Europe.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.20 or about 0.3% at $64.60 a barrel, extending losses to a fourth session.

The International Energy Agency said in its monthly Oil Market Report that global energy demand is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels for another two years at least, weighed as well on oil prices.

Fuel consumption will average just over 101 million barrels a day in 2023 and growth will be subdued thereafter due to new working habits and a shift away from fossil fuels, the IEA said in a report.

Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude inventories in the U.S. rose by 2.396 million barrels in the week ended March 13. However, the increase was less than what markets had expected.

Distiallate stockpiles were up 255,000 barrels last week as against expectations for a draw of about 3.4 million barrels, while gasoline inventories rose 472,000 barrels in the week as against expectations for a draw of about 3 million barrels.

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