Investing.com - U.S. crude oil inventories increased last week, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday.
The EIA data showed that crude oil inventories rose by 1.26 million barrels in the week to Feb. 1.
That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile build of 2.18 million barrels, after a gain of 0.92 million barrels in the previous week.
The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories rose by 0.51 million barrels, compared to expectations for a build of 1.60 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 2.26 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.81 million.
U.S. crude prices pared losses immediately after the data release, trading down 0.43% at $53.43 a barrel by 10:33 AM ET (15:33 GMT), compared to $53.20 prior to the publication.
London-traded Brent crude futures slipped 0.03% to $61.96 a barrel, compared to $61.70 ahead of the release.
West Texas Intermediate oil accumulated losses of around 4% this week as worse-than-expected U.S. economic data raised concerns of demand on a global scale.
Data released this week by the Institute of Supply Management showed that activity in the U.S. economy’s service sector hit a six-month low in January, while separate data revealed an unexpected decline in new orders for U.S.-made goods in November, with sharp declines in demand for machinery and electrical equipment.
These signs of economic weakness amid unresolved trade tensions between China and the U.S. have put oil bulls in check after a strong start to the year. WTI rallied 3% last week capping the largest-ever increase in the month of January in response to a plunge in Saudi crude exports, upbeat U.S. jobs data, the Federal Reserve's decision to leave raise interest rates unchanged and U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil.