Oil Dips after Surprise Rise in U.S. Crude Stocks

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Oil slipped on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories that reignited pandemicled demand concerns, but stimulus hopes in the United States capped the downturn in prices.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures dipped 19 cents, or 0.4, to 53.12 a barrel at 0725 GMT, following two days of gains on expectations of massive COVID19 relief spending under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

Brent crude futures were down 16 cents, or 0.3, to 55.92 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose 2.6 million barrels in the week to Jan. 15, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, compared with analysts forecasts in a Reuters poll for a fall of 1.2 million barrels. 

Crude is marginally lower today on a surprise build in U.S. crude stocks… On the flipside, however, crude is also supported by a weaker dollar and the prospect of higher U.S. stimulus, said Ravindra Rao, vice president, commodities at Kotak Securities.

U.S. crude stocks have been falling for last five weeks and this has been one of the key factors in keeping price at elevated levels. If EIA also confirms an increase in crude stocks, we may see some more correction in prices, he added.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is due to release its weekly inventory report on Friday.

Holding the market back are also persistent worries over demand, said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, adding that concerns have grown with…

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