Oil fell in early trade on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude oil stocks rose last week, defying expectations for a decline, and U.S. President Donald Trump rattled markets by threatening not to sign a long-awaited Covid-19 relief bill.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 46 cents, or 1%, to $46.56 a barrel at 0142 GMT, while Brent crude futures dropped 46 cents, or 0.9%, to $49.62.
Both contracts fell nearly 2% on Tuesday, in a second straight session of declines, with Brent just managing to settle above $50 ahead of the release of the data from the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Gasoline stocks fell by 224,000 barrels, against expectations for a build of 1.2 million barrels.
Oil fell further after Trump threatened not to sign an $892 billion coronavirus relief bill, saying he wants Congress to increase the amount in the stimulus checks which lawmakers approved on Monday.
“Rubbing salt in the oil market wounds today, oil prices lurched lower after yet another inventory build that was very much bearish to consensus,” Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.