Oil reverses course and pulls back after brief rally

Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:55am EST
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By Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil turned negative Wednesday, as falling gasoline futures weighed down crude prices on concerns that oversupply in the U.S. would limit the effect of OPEC's record compliance with its supply-cut accord.

U.S. crude stocks rose 9.5 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, nearly three times more than forecast, but confirming a trade group's report late Tuesday of a larger-than-expected build. [EIA/S]

U.S. crude inventories hit a peak at 518.12 million barrels, while gasoline stocks also touched a record, rising 2.8 million barrels to 259.1 million barrels, according to the EIA.

Gasoline futures RBc1 fell 0.66 cents a gallon, or 0.45 percent, by 11:35 a.m. ET (1635 GMT).

"Gasoline is playing a leading role in trade action," said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging. "With the excess supply of gasoline, particularly on the East Coast, that's substantial."

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 30 cents to $55.67 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 futures dipped 26 cents to $52.94 a barrel.

"The U.S. witnessed yet another week of higher-than-expected stock builds; nonetheless, the build was less than last week’s, which helped prices recoup some of the earlier losses," said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

"A build in gasoline stock is in tandem with seasonal norms and further builds are expected in the coming weeks as demand for the fuel remains low."   Continued...

FILE PHOTO - A drop of diesel is seen at the tip of a nozzle after a fuel station customer fills her car's tank in Sint Pieters Leeuw December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman