Oil prices edged lower on Thursday as demand concerns outweighed tight global supply after U.S. government data showed lackluster petro demand during the peak summer driving season.
Brent crude futures fell US$3.77, or 3.53%, to US$103.15 a barrel by 16.24 hrs. local time in Thailand. WTI crude futures dropped US$3.91, or 3.91%, to US$95.97 a barrel.
According to a U.S. report, gasoline inventories posted a larger-than-expected build on weakened demand, while a 4-week average showed that high prices cut consumption to slightly over the same period two years ago and below every other year since 2000.
In the week ending July 15, crude inventories decreased by 446,000 barrels to 426.6 million barrels, much below the 1.4 million-barrel increase expected in a Reuters poll.
Demand recovered from the previous week’s steep drop, and product supply increased to 21 million barrels per day. However, gasoline demand has continued to fall, and supply has been 8.7 million bpd, or 7.6% lower than this time last year, over the last four weeks, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.