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Oil prices slipped as the US trading day revved-up, with analysts focused on the sharp rise this year in American crude inventories.

West Texas Intermediate, the US benhcmark, declined 1.4 per cent to $48.12 a barrel, while Brent crude dipped 0.9 per cent to $51.30 a barrel.

Oil has been pressured this month by the bump-up in US inventories to historic highs. WTI has declined by 10.9 per cent since February, while Brent has skidded 7.8 per cent.

JPMorgan Chase said in a note late on Friday that the price fall has come as money managers, who had an “extremely high level” of exposure to oil following the agreement late last year between Opec and other larger exporters to cut production, had begun to liquidate positions.

However, the bank said that it reckons “the weaker price levels present an excellent risk-adjusted opportunity to buy oil, assuming markets tighten in the coming quarters as we expect”.

In the equities market, the S&P 500 energy index was off to a weaker start on Monday, dipping by 0.7 per cent. The small-cap Russell 2000 energy sector dropped 1.5 per cent.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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