Investing.com - U.S. crude oil inventories increased last week, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday.
The EIA data showed that crude oil inventories rose by 3.67 million barrels in the week to Feb. 15.
That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile build of 3.08 million barrels, after a gain of 3.63 million barrels in the previous week.
The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories fell by 1.45 million barrels, compared to expectations for a draw of 0.35 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 1.52 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.69 million.
U.S. crude prices pared losses immediately after the data release, falling 0.14% at $57.08 a barrel by 11:06 AM ET (16:06 GMT), compared to $56.89 prior to the publication.
London-traded Brent crude futures gained 0.15% to $67.18 a barrel, compared to $66.92 ahead of the release.
The report was released one day later than normal due to Monday’s holiday.
Crude has rallied more than 20% this year amid indications that OPEC-led output cuts have helped tighten an oversupplied market, while West Texas Intermediate chalked up gains of nearly 3% this week amid positive news flow from trade talks between the U.S. and China in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump said this week that talks were going well and suggested he may be open to delaying a March 1 deadline on new tariffs, depending on progress in the negotiations.
The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest oil consuming nations. Hopes that the two sides would hammer out an agreement resolving their protracted trade war helped to ease worries about energy demand.
Oil bears, however, point to escalating production in the U.S. as a factor that could counteract efforts by OPEC and its allies to rebalance the market. Thursday’s report showed that U.S. output hit a record high last week of 12.0 million barrels per day
The EIA had warned on Tuesday that U.S. output is set to keep rising thanks to booming shale oil production.