Oil futures were under pressure Thursday, losing ground ahead of government data on U.S. crude inventories after an industry group reported an unexpected increase in supplies.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery fell 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $53.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 32 cents, or 0.6%, at $55.78 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
“A one-time increase in data should not have a substantial effect on prices, but if it persists over the next couple of weeks, that could be a warning signal that triggers profit-taking,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note. “So far, it is the supply side of the equation that’s moving prices; however if demand falls further, problems may arise for OPEC+ who are doing their best to keep the equation balanced.”
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 15, according to sources. The data also reportedly showed gasoline stockpiles up by 1.1 million barrels, while distillate inventories rose by 816,000 barrels.
More closely followed data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday morning. On average, the EIA is expected to show crude inventories down by 2.5 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. The survey also shows expectations for inventory increases of 2.7 million barrels for gasoline and 600,000 barrels for