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Inventories of US crude advanced for the ninth consecutive week, the longest streak of gains since 2015, while gasoline stocks fell for the third straight week.

Stockpiles of US crude climbed by 8.2m barrels in the week ended March 3, and have risen every week this year, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration. That eclipsed estimates for a 1.3m-barrel build.

Meanwhile, inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, a key delivery hub, rose by 867,000 barrels, above estimates of 227,750 barrels.

At 528.4m barrels, US crude stocks are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year.

The report also showed that stocks of gasoline, one of the products that oil is refined into, declined by 6.6m barrels, compared with expectations of a 1.5m barrel draw.

Oil prices held their losses after the data, with West Texas Intermediate, the US oil standard, slipping 1.1 per cent to $52.57 a barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, declined 0.8 per cent to $55.49 a barrel.

The moves come a day after the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia emphasised their commitment to a deal announced last year to curb output for the first six months of 2017.

But Saudi’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, cautioned that the deal was helping revitalise the US shale market and could undermine efforts to stabilise crude prices. He added that an extension of the deal would be contingent on how quickly oil inventories fell back to average levels.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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