Oil drops as surprise US stock build douses demand recovery hopes

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Oil prices slid for a second consecutive session on Thursday as US industry data showed a steep and surprising build-up in crude stockpiles, dampening hopes of a smooth demand recovery as the world begins to ease its way out of coronavirus lockdowns.

The decline extended losses from Wednesday on uncertainty about Russia’s commitment to deep oil production cuts in the lead-up to a June 9 meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, dubbed OPEC+. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 4.4%, or $1.44 at $31.37 a barrel at 0402 GMT after slipping as much as 5% to a low of $31.14 earlier in the session.

Brent crude futures dropped 3.2%, or $1.10 to $33.64 per barrel. “A surprise to consensus API (American Petroleum Institute)inventory build (data) and fear of Russia turning up production weighs on oil prices,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp.

“As is often the case during a run-up up to an OPEC+ meeting, the focus is squarely on Russia’s commitment and understandably so as historically they have been the laggard within the OPEC+.”

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