Oil futures were lower for a fifth straight session on Thursday, unable to shake off weakness tied to a rise in U.S. crude inventories.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery
the global benchmark was off 52 cents, or 0.8%, at $67.48 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
The Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels for the week ended March 12. . The rise followed increases reported by the agency in each of the previous three weeks. Gasoline inventories, which had fallen sharply in previous weeks as a result of refinery shutdowns, also rose.
Gasoline had been the engine pulling the energy rally higher before the recent pullback, said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities, in a note. Wednsday’s gasoline storage build “could put the brakes on that dynamic,” he said.
A sluggish vaccine rollout in Europe also remains a weight on crude, analysts said, raising questions about the speed of the recovery in demand for crude.