U.S. crude oil fell on Wednesday, as a U.S. inventory report showed a build in gasoline stocks and Libya said its ports could reopen by the weekend, raising the prospect of more crude in the world market.
Domestic crude stocks fell 10.6 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 6, the biggest draw since December 2012 as imports dropped, gasoline stocks piled up, and refiners churned out distillates in record amounts, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.
Gasoline inventories posted a 6.7 million barrel build, their largest since January, sending the RBOB gasoline futures contract to a session low of $2.642 and weighing on domestic crude prices. A Reuters poll had forecast a rise in inventories of just 1.8 million barrels.
Several traders said the big drop in crude stocks could be due to an end-of-year push to empty facilities and avoid being taxed on inventories.
Brent crude oil edged lower amid the prospect for more crude in the market after Libya's prime minister said three of the country's oil ports were expected to reopen this weekend.Oil prices fell for much of Wednesday's session, shrugging off predictions of a resurgence in global demand from the west's energy watchdog.
January Brent crude was up 40 cents to trade under $110 a barrel, recovering from earlier declines during the day. U.S. crude futures for January delivery fell from a six-week peak, falling by $1.07 to settle at $97.44.
For more information on commodities prices, please click here.