U.S. crude falls more than 1 percent on surprise stockpile build

Wed Jul 8, 2015 3:51pm EDT
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By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday after a surprise build in stockpiles while gasoline rallied on bets for strong fuel demand through the peak summer driving season.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said inventories rose last week for crude, gasoline and distillates. That surprised market players a day after industry group the American Petroleum Institute had reported a draw of 1 million barrels. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a crude draw of 700,000 barrels.

"We were not supposed to be building crude inventories in early July. This tells me the data will be additive to the macro-based selloff and perhaps make it worse," said David Thompson, executive vice president at Powerhouse, an energy-specialized commodities broker in Washington.

Earlier this week, oil prices tumbled to three-month lows on worries about the impact of Greece's debt woes and China's stock market plunge on the world economy and fuel demand.

Oil prices also felt pressure from Iran's eagerness to seal a nuclear accord that will allow it to resume crude exports without sanctions into an already glutted global market.

U.S. crude's front-month contract CLc1 settled down 68 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $51.65 a barrel. It had fallen on Tuesday to $50.58, its lowest since April 8.

Brent LCOc1 settled up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $57.05, bucking the trend in U.S. crude for a second straight day.

Gasoline was the day's outlier, rallying 2.5 percent. The gasoline crack CL-RB1=R, or profit refiners get for producing the fuel from crude, hit a 3-month high as U.S. crude prices went the opposite way.   Continued...

A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files