05 November 2015 – Oil futures were up slightly in early Asian trade on Thursday after losses the previous session on official figures showing a sixth consecutive week of inventory gains in US crude stockpiles.
Crude prices slumped as much as 4% on Thursday after the Energy Information Administration said US crude inventories added 2.85 million barrels last week, in line with forecasts, despite a drop in imports to the lowest level since 1991.
US crude was up 22 cents at $46.54 a barrel in thin trade early on Thursday. The contract fell $1.58, or 3.3%, to $46.32 on Wednesday.
Brent crude rose 27 cents to $48.85 a barrel, after dropping 3.9% on Wednesday.
“The US data was a negative and there is not much chance of further improvement at this stage in the demand/supply balance, with inventories heading up and production basically steady,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
Contributing to the general bearish sentiment was an internal Opec document published by Reuters that showed weaker demand in the next few years for oil from the producer group.
Opec oil ministers are due to meet on 4 December to decide whether to extend the strategy of allowing prices to fall to slow higher-cost rival supply.
Since November 2014, when the group adopted that policy, Opec production has risen but prices have deepened their collapse, hurting oil revenue.
Saudi Arabia, the biggest Opec producer, has been pumping near record levels to protect its market share, but has seen oil revenues slump.