Oil prices fell for the second session, Thursday, under pressure caused by an unexpected increase in US crude stocks, which raised concerns about demand, after prices rose to their highest levels in many years.
US crude fell 0.67%, or 52 cents, to $76.91 a barrel during trading, after the market rose on Wednesday to $79.78, the highest since November 2014.
Brent crude lost 0.1%, or eight cents, to $81 a barrel.
“Commercial crude stocks rose… last week, according to EIA data,” ANZ said in a note. Gasoline stocks also increased, which raised fears of weak demand.
The US Energy Information Administration said that crude stocks in the United States rose last week by 2.3 million barrels, compared to expectations for a modest decline of 418,000. Gasoline stocks also rose, while distillate stocks fell slightly.
This year, global oil prices have jumped more than 50%, adding to inflationary pressures that may slow the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and affect customer demand.
On Monday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) said they would stick to their agreement to gradually increase oil production, sending crude prices to their highest levels in years.
Sources close to the group told Reuters that OPEC +’s decision to increase oil production moderately and gradually, despite the rise in prices this year, is partly due to fears that demand will decline and prices will fall.
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