Oil falls as US inventories rise a fourth week

Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:55pm EDT
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By Gene Ramos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil futures fell on Wednesday as supply concerns eased after data showing a fourth straight week of inventory build in the United States.

U.S. crude stocks jumped 3.9 million barrels in the week to April 13, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed, substantially exceeding analyst expectations. Over the past month, supplies have swelled nearly 22.8 million barrels, the biggest four-week build since February 2009.<EIA/S>

The build helped offset ongoing supply concerns due to a string of disruptions across the globe this year, as well as worries about the potential loss of oil from Iran due to EU and U.S. sanctions against Iran set to take effect this summer.

Oil also came under pressure along with other commodities from resurgent worries about the euro zone debt crisis. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index .CRB fell nearly 1 percent on the day.

Investors in oil and other commodities are sensitive to the region's economy as they balance its oil demand prospects against any potential losses from OPEC member Iran arising from U.S. and European Union sanctions set to take effect this summer.

In London, ICE Brent for June delivery settled at $117.97 a barrel, dropping 81 cents, marking the lowest close for front-month Brent since February 13. It hit a session low of $116.70, threatening to fall below its 100-day moving average of $116.31.

U.S. May crude, which expires on Friday, settled at $102.67, falling $1.53. It skidded to a session low of $102.19, moving toward the 100-day moving average of $101.86. June crude closed at $103.12, down $1.52.

Brent crude's volume outpaced that of U.S. crude, rising almost 22 percent above its 30-day average, Reuters data showed. U.S. crude trading volume was up 4 percent above its 30-day average.   Continued...