Markets

Oil prices bounce higher on lower than expected build in US stockpiles

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Oil prices bounced this afternoon after official US data showed a lower than expected increase in inventories.

The global benchmark Brent crude had fallen to below $62 a barrel earlier in the day on the back of a report by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday that said US stockpiles had swelled by nearly 4m barrels in the week to 9 February.

However fresh data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said US inventories increased by 1.84m barrels compared with traders' expectations of a 3m build.

"The oil market has been in decline recently, the data triggered short covering and bargain hunting," said David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

US production growth has undermined the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) efforts to bring the market back into balance.

Opec and non-Opec countries including Russia are cutting production by 1.8m barrels per day (bpd) through to the end of 2018 in an effort to slash the global supply glut.

Last month, Brent rose as high as $71 per barrel in intra-day trading for the first time since 2014, but prices have since slumped.

"The bearish factors working against oil are outweighing positivity which has been creeping back into the market over the past few months," said ​Fiona Cincotta, market analyst at City Index.

"Whilst Opec appear to have down an excellent job removing the oil glut, the boom in US shale productions looks set to ruin Opec's party. The US added 26 active rigs last week as per the Baker Hughes report, the highest number since 2015, in signs of extraordinary growth," Cincotta said.

The International Energy Agency also yesterday predicted that rising supply from non-Opec countries could leave supply outstripping demand, Cincotta said.

"Whilst increased global demand could offer some support to the price, WTI is in a correction phase, after having dropped over 10 per cent from its recent peak."

Brent crude was up 0.53 per cent at $63.05 per barrel at the time of writing, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, was up 0.44 per cent at $59.45 per barrel.

Read more: Oil prices finally gain some ground after last week's steep drop

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