Crude oil prices were down on Thursday with a surprise weekly buildup of US gasoline stocks, suggesting oil demand is in decline in the world’s largest oil consuming country.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $39.32 per barrel at 0654 GMT for a 1.18% decline after closing Wednesday at $39.79 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $36.64 a barrel at the same time for a 0.84% drop after ending the previous day at $36.95 per barrel.
In the US, gasoline inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels, or 1.1%, to 257.8 million barrels for the week ending May 29, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. However, the market expectation was an increase of 1 million barrels.
Rising inventories suggest overall oil demand remains weak in the US, putting downward pressure on prices.
On the supply side, Saudi Arabia and Russia, leaders of OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing countries, respectively, continue their negotiations ahead of the scheduled OPEC+ meeting next week.
The 23-member group is widely expected to extend the current production curb of 9.7 million barrels per day to the second half of 2020 after it expires on June 30.
The OPEC+ group could also make deeper oil production cuts to support prices more.
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