Oil prices were mixed in early trade on Thursday, just clinging to overnight gains, as concerns about weak fuel demand were in the frame again after Hurricane Sally blasted through the Gulf of Mexico into the southeastern United States.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were flat at $40.16 a barrel at 0118 GMT, after jumping 4.9% on Wednesday.
Prices were mostly in negative ground in early trade after a bigger than expected rise in U.S. distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, raised alarm about fuel demand in the world’s biggest economy.
Distillate stockpiles rose by 3.5 million barrels last week, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday – nearly six times more than analysts had expected.
Those stocks have jumped to their highest level for this time of year since at least 1991, and U.S. refiners’ margins for producing distillate are the lowest in 10 years.