Singapore: Oil prices fell by 1 percent on Wednesday, with rising U.S. fuel inventories pulling U.S. crude back below $50 per barrel, while ongoing high OPEC supplies weighed on international prices.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $48.63 per barrel at 0735 GMT, down 53 cents, or 1 percent, from its last settlement. That came after the contract opened above $50 for the first time since May 25 on Tuesday.
Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was down 49 cents, down 1 percent from the previous close, at $51.29 per barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute’s (API) said that U.S. crude stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week ending July 28 to 488.8 million, denting hopes that recent inventory draws were a sign of a tightening U.S. market.
Official storage figures are due to be published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday.
Outside the United States, Brent was pulled down by reports this week showing production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at a 2017 high of 33 million barrels per day (bpd). That is despite OPEC’s pledge to restrict output along with other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, by 1.8 million bpd between January this year and March 2018.
The Economist Intelligence Unit said that despite the cuts “the global market remains oversupplied,” and it warned that “there is no guarantee that further cuts will be sufficient to rebalance the oversupplied global oil market.”
Likely acting as a further lid on prices is that, according to U.S. bank Goldman Sachs, second quarter company results had shown that oil majors “are adapting to $50 per barrel oil prices and can afford to pay dividends in cash” at that level.