API estimates weigh on crude Wednesday ahead of Asian open

Copyright: Baker Hughes, a GE Company

Crude oil prices were weaker on Wednesday ahead of the Asian open following figures overnight that showed higher-than-expected U.S. weekly inventories and on concerns about global growth.

ICE Brent crude oil futures were last quoted down 1.40 percent to US$76.26 a barrel and NYMEX West Texas Intermediate was down 1.03 percent to US$66.35 a barrel. Brent crude oil futures settled down 1.85 percent to US$75.91 a barrel on Tuesday. WTI lost 1.28 percent to US$66.18 a barrel on Tuesday.

US crude oil stocks jumped a more than expected 5.7 million barrels last week to 424.1 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute said in estimates released on Tuesday.

Gasoline supplies eased 3.5 million barrels, compared to an expected dip of 2.1 million barrels and distillates dropped 3.1 million barrels, compared to an expected decline of 1.4 million barrels.

The API estimates are followed by official data on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. US EDT from the Energy Information Administration. The two data sets often diverge.

Meanwhile, global growth concerns are hitting sentiment.

“There are two downward pressures on global oil demand growth. One is high oil prices, and in many countries they’re directly related to consumer prices,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, at an energy conference in Singapore on Tuesday.

“The second one is global economic growth momentum slowing down.”