Oil Slides under $99

Source:

"Traders digested news of a surprise jump in crude inventories."

Associated Press

World oil prices sank further on Thursday, erasing earlier gains, as traders digested news of a surprise jump in crude inventories in top consuming nation the United States.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, fell $1.41 to $98.88 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for July shed $0.35 to $114.18 a barrel in afternoon deals.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) revealed Thursday that American crude reserves soared by 2.9 million barrels in the week ending May 27, indicating weaker energy demand.

That surprised the market because expectations had been for a drop of 1.2 million barrels, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Separately, industry group the American Petroleum Institute also announced that U.S. crude reserves has swelled by 3.5 million barrels last week.

Both weekly reports were published later than normal because of a U.S. public holiday on Monday.

Crude futures had fallen sharply on Wednesday, weighed down by weak economic data that has sparked serious concern about the energy demand outlook.

Markets were rattled by grim jobs and manufacturing figures that revealed deep weaknesses in the U.S. economy.

Payrolls firm ADP reported the U.S. private sector added 38,000 jobs in May, well below the consensus estimate for 170,000. The April figure was revised upward to 177,000.

Meanwhile the Institute of Supply Management manufacturing survey showed a slowdown in business in May.

Oil traders were meanwhile looking ahead to the June 8 output meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

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