Oil may decline this week after the Federal Reserve signalled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus and US inventories surged the most since 2008, a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Sixteen of 28 analysts, or 57 per cent, forecast oil will fall through April 13. Five respondents, or 18 per cent, predicted prices will rise and seven estimated there will be little change. Last week, 62 per cent of surveyed analysts expected a decline.
The Fed will abstain from further monetary accommodation unless the economy falters, minutes from a March meeting released last week showed.
Oil tumbled to a seven-week low on April 4 after a US Energy Department report showed inventories rose 9.01 million barrels to 362.4 million.
John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said, "Inventories will likely show another gain, easing concerns over tightness."
Prior to the release of the Fed minutes, there had been speculation that the central bank would proceed with a third round of bond purchases in a tactic that has been dubbed quantitative easing. The Fed bought a total of $2.3 trillion (Dh8.44 trillion) in bonds from December 2008 to June 2011.
Both output and imports increased last week. Production gained 2.9 per cent to 6.05 million barrels a day, the highest level 1n 12 years. Crude imports climbed 5.4 per cent to 9.77 million barrels a day last week, the highest level since the seven days ended on January 6.
Crude oil for May delivery increased 29 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $103.31 a barrel last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 49 per cent of the time since its start in April 2004.
US firms added 120,000 jobs in March, the fewest in five months, Friday's report showed. The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 per cent from 8.3 per cent the month before as people stopped looking for work.