MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices for Wednesday’s fourth day slipped on concerns about rocky demand in Europe, even as hopes were rekindled in U.S. distilling activity with industry data showing U.S. crude stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 5 cents to $ 64.75 a barrel at 0229 GMT, after climbing as much as 28 cents in early trading.
Brent crude futures fell 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 68.29 a barrel, after initially gaining up to 23 cents.
The market has been moving lower in the last few days amid concerns about halting the spread of vaccines leading to a slowdown in fuel demand.
“Concerns that demand may fall further have been rising as European health ministers block the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid health concerns,” ANZ Research said in a note.
While demand is growing in India and the United States, it remains weak in Europe, ANZ said, noting that French road fuel consumption fell 10.8% in February from last year. earlier, according to the country’s UFIP petrol industry federation.
On the positive side, U.S. crude investments fell 1 million barrels a week to March 12, according to trade sources citing data from the American Petroleum Institute. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected to pick up 3 million barrels,
“The market did not have a wrong leg but it is still a surprise after the U.S. oil stocks fell unexpectedly last week,” said Stephen Innes, Axi’s chief global market strategist.
At the same time, gasoline stocks fell less than expected, declining by 926,000 barrels, compared to estimates for a draw of 3 million barrels.
The “narrower weekly drawdown in gasoline stocks indicated that cleanup activity was normalizing after a major freeze in Texas production in the previous month,” Innes said in a note.
The historic freezing spell in the southern U.S. states spilled nearly a quarter of the country’s redecoration capacity last month.
Traders are looking for confirmation of drawdown in raw stocks in official data due from the Energy Information Administration due Wednesday.
Reciting with Sonali Paul; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman