Futures on US West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil extended losses on Thursday as demand-related concerns overshadowed tight supply, with government data showing US gasoline stocks rising during the peak of the peak driving season.
The official report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday gasoline inventories had increased by 3.498 million barrels during the week ended July 15th. Analysts on average had anticipated a much smaller inventory build – by 71,000 barrels.
Product supplied of gasoline, which is indicative of demand, was reported at 8.5 million barrels per day, or about 8% lower compared to the same period a year earlier.
According to ING’s head of commodities research Warren Patterson, the latest inventory report was relatively bearish, with gasoline stockpiles rising despite lower refinery runs.
“It seems higher prices are having some impact on demand, with gasoline demand seasonally low over the week once again,” ING’s Patterson was quoted as saying by Reuters.
US crude oil stocks dropped by 0.446 million barrels last week, following two straight weeks of increases and against market expectations of a 1.357 million build.
On the supply side, concerns over Libya’s production have eased after the National Oil Corp said yesterday operations at several oilfields had been resumed after force majeure on oil exports was lifted last week.
As of 7:51 GMT on Thursday WTI Crude Oil Futures were retreating 1.86% to trade at $97.94 per barrel. Earlier this week the black liquid went up as high as $104.43 per barrel, which has been its strongest price level since July 11th ($105.02 per barrel).
At the same time, Brent Oil Futures were losing 1.41% on the day to trade at $104.97 per barrel. Earlier this week Brent Oil went up as high as $107.56 per barrel, which has been its strongest price level since July 11th ($107.64 per barrel).