Oil prices down with rise in U.S. crude stocks

Oil prices down with rise in U.S. crude stocks

Oil prices were down on Thursday with a surprise increase in U.S. crude oil stocks, signaling that oil demand could remain weak in the world's largest oil-consuming nation.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $43.17 per barrel at 0626 GMT for a 0.28% decline after closing Wednesday at $43.29 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $40.74 a barrel at the same time for a 0.39% loss after ending the previous day at $40.90 per barrel.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose by 5.7 million barrels for the week ending July 3. However, the market expectation was a decline of 3.1 million barrels.

The surprise increase in crude inventories indicates that oil demand is likely to stay low for the world's largest oil consumer for at least the third quarter or possibly until the end of the year, Anadolu Agency reported.

On the demand side, the risks over a second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to keep the outlook for global oil demand weak, and this keeps downward pressure on crude prices.

"The market’s struggling to get strong conviction to the upside at the current point in time," said Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research at National Australia Bank. "There’s mixed evidence on demand."

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