Oil prices slip on surprise U.S. crude inventory build

11 Dec 2019 / 11:15 H.

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Wednesday after industry data showed a surprise build in crude oil inventory in the United States and as investors waited for news on whether a fresh round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would take effect on Sunday.

Brent futures fell by 37 cents, or 0.6%, to $63.97 per barrel by 0121 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped by 30 cents, or 0.5%, to $58.94 a barrel.

“Oil fell from its highest close in almost three months after the API inventory reported a build bearish to consciences while uncertainly over the December tariff deferral added to the soft tone,“ Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said, referring to U.S. crude’s close on Dec. 10.

U.S. crude stocks clocked a surprise rise in the most recent week while gasoline and distillate inventories also rose, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute shows.

Crude inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week to Dec. 6 to 447 million, while analysts were expecting a fall of 2.8 million barrels.

The weekly EIA report is due later on Wednesday.

The U.S. is on track to become a net exporter of crude and fuel for the first time on record on an annual basis in 2020, the EIA said, due to a production surge that has dramatically reduced its dependence on foreign oil.

Also adding to global supply, U.S. producers Exxon Mobil Corp and Hess Corp plan to export the first-ever shipments of crude oil from Guyana between January and February, a milestone for Latin America’s newest oil producer, sources with knowledge of the plans said.

U.S.-China trade tensions continued to cloud demand outlook with a Dec. 15 deadline for the next round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports weighing on markets.

Investors are also eyeing other major events this week including the British election on Thursday and U.S. and European Central Bank meetings for further trading cues. -Reuters

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