Oil Slides 3% Amid Record U.S. Stockpile

Oil headed for its first weekly decline in a month as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded to a record, adding to a global glut.

West Texas intermediate futures rose 0.6%, paring this week’s decline to 2.5%. Baker Hughes Inc., which reported that U.S. drillers reduced their number of rigs by 33% in the last 10 weeks, released its latest data Feb. 20. The nation’s crude inventories climbed for a sixth week, according to the Energy Information Administration latest report.

Rising U.S. oil supplies have contributed to a global oversupply of crude that sent prices almost 50% lower in 2014. WTI’s discount to Brent expanded to the widest in almost six months as stockpiles in Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the WTI contract, rose to the highest since mid-2013.

“We’ve seen a pattern of weakness in the run-up to inventory data followed by strength before the rig count data is released,” said Carsten Fritsch, a commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “Prices are volatile and the pattern will continue in the upcoming weeks.”

WTI for March delivery, which expired Friday, added 32 cents to $ 51.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 1:15 p.m. London time. The more-active April future rose 19 cents to $ 52.02. The volume of all futures traded was about 27% below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Brent for April settlement rose 49 cents to $ 60.70 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Oil headed for its first weekly decline in a month as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded to a record, adding to a global glut.

West Texas intermediate futures rose 0.6%, paring this week’s decline to 2.5%. Baker Hughes Inc., which reported that U.S. drillers reduced their number of rigs by 33% in the last 10 weeks, released its latest data Feb. 20. The nation’s crude inventories climbed for a sixth week, according to the Energy Information Administration latest report.

Rising U.S. oil supplies have contributed to a global oversupply of crude that sent prices almost 50% lower in 2014. WTI’s discount to Brent expanded to the widest in almost six months as stockpiles in Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the WTI contract, rose to the highest since mid-2013.

“We’ve seen a pattern of weakness in the run-up to inventory data followed by strength before the rig count data is released,” said Carsten Fritsch, a commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “Prices are volatile and the pattern will continue in the upcoming weeks.”

WTI for March delivery, which expired Friday, added 32 cents to $ 51.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 1:15 p.m. London time. The more-active April future rose 19 cents to $ 52.02. The volume of all futures traded was about 27% below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Brent for April settlement rose 49 cents to $ 60.70 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

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