Oil fell in New York on speculation rising U.S. crude stockpiles indicate fuel demand is faltering in the world’s biggest consumer of the commodity.
Futures dropped as much as 0.5 percent after the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said inventories climbed 3.96 million barrels to 358.2 million last week, the biggest increase in three months. An Energy Department report on Wednesday may show supplies decreased 2 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Prices failed to settle above $100 a barrel on Tuesday on concern the U.S. may default amid a standoff over the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit.
“The main driver of the oil market will be the demand and supply situation,” said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity-derivatives sales manager at broker Newedge Group in Tokyo, who predicts oil will trade between $97.50 and $101.50 a barrel this week. “Prices may be range-bound until the American debt issue is resolved.”
Crude for September delivery slid as much as 54 cents to $99.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $99.31 at 2:58 p.m. Singapore time. The contract on Tuesday climbed 39 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $99.59, after trading above $100 for the third time in four days. Futures have gained 28 percent in the past year.
Brent oil for September settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange fell as much as 24 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $118.04 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at an $18.97 premium to New York futures, down from a record $22.63 on July 14.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles probably increased for a second week, gaining 400,000 barrels in the seven days to July 22, according to the median estimate of 14 analysts surveyed before the Energy Department report on Wednesday.
Oil rose on Tuesday after an index of U.S. consumer confidence rebounded from an eight-month low and the dollar fell on concern the country may default. A weaker greenback bolsters the investment appeal of commodities as a hedge against inflation.
The U.S. currency slumped against most of its major peers on Wednesday before the U.S. House votes on a plan to cut government spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. The dollar sank to record lows of 87.65 cents per New Zealand dollar and $1.1063 per Australian dollar. Spot gold climbed to an all-time high of $1,625.70 an ounce.
“Some currency influence is coming into the oil market,” said Hasegawa at Newedge. “But gold and oil are quite different and oil investors are not panicking at the moment.”
Crude in New York is declining as it may have advanced too quickly based on technical charts. The 14-day stochastic oscillator is above 80, indicating futures are at so-called overbought levels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
An area of showers and thunderstorms associated with a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea has a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. The Atlantic hurricane season is monitored by the oil and gas industry because of the potential impact on production areas including the Gulf of Mexico.