Oil Wobbles as Inventory Build Weighs

Petroleum prices moved between gains and losses on Wednesday as easing lockdowns encouraged investors, while a surprise build in U.S. inventories pressured prices.

Brent crude futures fell seven cents to trade at $43.01 U.S. per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded three cents lower at $40.59 per barrel.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday that for the week ending July 3 U.S. stockpiles rose by 5.7 million barrels. Analysts had been expecting a draw of 3.2 million barrels.

Both benchmarks are set for a fourth session of daily percentage changes of less 1% in either direction.

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over three million confirmed cases on Tuesday as more states reported record numbers of new infections.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week, although gasoline and distillate inventories fell more than expected, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed.

EIA said on Tuesday that U.S. crude oil production is expected to fall by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, a smaller decline than the 670,000 bpd it forecast previously.