Oil Steady After Inventory Build


"Oil little changed after inventories climbed to highest level since 1990."

Crude oil was little changed after a government report showed that U.S. petroleum inventories climbed to the highest level since at least 1990.

Petroleum stockpiles, including oil and fuel supplies, rose 196,000 barrels to 1.14 billion last week, according to the Energy Department. Inventories of crude oil and distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, unexpectedly dropped, sending the market to a three-week high after the report's release at 11 a.m. in Washington.

"The headline numbers were supportive, so I understand why prices rallied immediately; but they masked a build in total inventories," said Tim Evans, an analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, adding, "there's still a big surplus."

Crude oil for October delivery fell $0.1 to $74.66 a barrel at 1:02 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract reached $75.96, the highest level since Aug. 19.

Brent crude oil for October settlement slipped $0.34, or 0.4%, to $77.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Supplies dropped 1.85 million barrels to 359.9 million in the week ended Sept. 3, the Energy Department said today in a weekly report. Inventories were forecast to climb by 1 million barrels, according to the median of 15 responses in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.

Distillate stockpiles declined 388,000 barrels to 175 million. Stockpiles were forecast to increase 700,000 barrels.

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