Oil Edges Lower on Large Stockpile Build and Inflation Fears

Oil prices fell further in early Asian trade on Wednesday as industry data revealed a far larger-than-expected jump in US oil inventories and investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s next move after CPI data showed still-high inflation.

Brent crude futures lost 33 cents, or 0.39% to $85.25 per barrel by 9.47 A.M. (Thai time), while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 33 cents, or 0.42% to $78.73.

According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute estimates on Tuesday, US oil stocks increased by around 10.5 million barrels in the week ending Feb. 10, well exceeding the 1.2 million-barrel increase predicted by a Reuters poll of analysts.

With the US strategic oil reserve already at its lowest level in approximately four decades, the Department of Energy (DOE)’s decision this week that it would sell 26 million barrels of oil, further weighed on crude prices.

As a result of China’s reopening, OPEC lifted its 2023 global oil demand growth projection for the first time in months, which helped to maintain prices. At the same time, the group lowered its supply forecasts for major non-OPEC producers, which indicated a tighter market.

This year, OPEC predicts, global oil consumption would rise by 2.32 million barrels per day (bpd), or 2.3%, an increase of 100,000 bpd over the group’s last prediction in February.