Tue. Jan 19th, 2021

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Oil prices slide

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Oil pipeline

Oil prices dropped on Wednesday on a surprise gain in crude oil inventories in the United States and as investors continued to worry about demand for fuel being squeezed amid tighter lockdowns in Europe to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent crude futures fell 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $50.68 a barrel at 0126 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $47.56 a barrel.

“Crude prices are slightly softer after the API (American Petroleum Institute) inventory report posted a second consecutive build,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Crude inventories swelled by 2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 11 to about 495 million barrels, according to industry group API.

Analysts had expected a draw of 1.9 million barrels. Official government data was scheduled for Wednesday.

The IEA revised down its estimates for oil demand this year by 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) and for next year by 170,000 bpd, citing scarce jet fuel use as fewer people travel by air.

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