Oil Prices Fall Back as Stockpiles Hike 2.2M Barrels

Petroleum prices sank on Wednesday following U.S. government data that showed another rise in crude stockpiles stateside and as the market continues to grapple with concerns about weakening fuel demand.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration came out Wednesday with information revealing that commercial crude inventories rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week through June 7. Analysts had expected stockpiles to fall by 481,000 barrels.

The international benchmark for oil prices known as Brent crude was down $1.62, or 2.6%, at $60.67 U.S. mid-morning Wednesday. Brent hit a session low at $60.30 U.S. in early morning trading.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $1.58, or 3%, to $51.69 U.S. per barrel. WTI fell as low as $51.46 earlier in the session.

Crude futures fell to a nearly five-month low last week after EIA figures showed crude stocks surged to the highest level since July 2017. Brent is now down nearly 20% from its 2019 high in April, while WTI is trading more than 22% lower over the same period.

On Tuesday, EIA cut its forecast for global oil demand growth to roughly 1.2 million barrels per day in 2019, down from last month’s projection of about 1.4 million bpd. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is expected to update its demand outlook on Thursday, while the International Energy Agency is slated to issue its report Friday.

OPEC and other major producers are set to meet in the coming weeks to discuss their policy of withholding 1.2 million bpd from the market.