Oil ends mixed, U.S. crude eases before inventory report

Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:57pm EDT
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By Barani Krishnan and Koustav Samanta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices settled mixed on Tuesday, with New York-based futures down slightly, as market participants awaited the U.S. government's inventory data amid a global oversupply that was pressuring prices.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a preliminary report U.S. crude stockpiles had risen 7 million barrels last week, way above the 3.7 million barrels expected by analysts in a Reuters survey.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will report official inventory data on Wednesday.

"The API numbers set the stage again for tomorrow's EIA report, which is expected to show a fourth straight week of builds," said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.

Expressing surprise at the API data, Jarvis said he had expected builds due to seasonal maintenance for U.S. refineries "but certainly not these kind of numbers".

Brent futures for December delivery, settled 10 cents up at $48.71 a barrel. It turned negative in post-settlement trade, trading down 5 cents at $48.56 a barrel by 4:55 p.m. EDT (1655 GMT) after the release of the API data.

U.S. crude futures for November, which expired at Tuesday's settlement, finished down 34 cents at $45.55 per barrel.

The December U.S. contract, which will become front month on Wednesday, settled up one cent at $46.29. That was down 37 cents in post-settlement trade.   Continued...

Offshore oil platforms are seen at the Bouri Oil Field off the coast of Libya August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Files