Crude oil held slightly weaker in Asia on Thursday as regional investors digested the implications of a build in U.S. stockpiles and the scope for demand globally. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for August delivery fell 0.05% at $56.93 a barrel. Overnight, WTI crude futures took a massive nosedive on Wednesday suffering one of its worst one-day falls in nearly three months, amid a surprising build in U.S. stockpiles last week. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Brent crude for August delivery also fell sharply on Wednesday. At one point, Brent crude futures declined by more than 2.5% to close under $62 for the first time since mid-April. Brent crude settled at 61.91, down 1.68 or 2.64% In its Weekly Petroleum Status report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude inventories last week rose by 2.4 million barrels, halting an eight week streak of weekly draws. U.S. crude stockpiles are now at 465.4 million barrels, near its highest level at this time of year in at least 80 years. Analysts had expected a draw of 2 million barrels. Meanwhile, the EIA said total motor gasoline inventories fell by 1.8 million barrels last week while, while distillate stockpiles increased by 0.4 million barrels. Refineries nationwide operated at 95.0% of their operable capacity for the week ending June 26, up from 94.0% a week earlier. The unexpected build came one day after the EIA said U.S. crude output increased to 9.7 million barrels per day in April, its highest level in nearly 45 years. While domestic crude production fell by 9,000 barrels per day last week, it still remained at 9.595 million bpd, more than a million bpd higher than its level last year at this time.
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