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Oil prices extend losses as US inventories rise
[NEW YORK] Oil prices fell for the fourth straight day on Thursday as the United States reported an increase in already high crude-oil stockpiles, adding to concerns about the global oversupply.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November slipped 26 cents to US$46.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for November delivery, the global benchmark, fell to US$48.71 a barrel, down 44 cents from Wednesday's settlement.
The US Department of Energy surprised the market in a report showing that the country's commercial crude inventories jumped by 7.6 million barrels last week, nearly three times as much as experts had predicted.
That brought total stocks to 468.6 million barrels, remaining close to the highest levels for this time of year in at least eight decades.
The rise "is clearly bearish for oil prices in general and even more so for NYMEX since 1.1 million barrels of the increase were at Cushing," said James Williams at WTRG Economics, referring to the nation's largest storage hub for crude oil and the price settlement point for WTI.
Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates said that "some of the bearishness was tempered by the continued decline in the weekly production figures." Crude oil production fell by 76,000 barrels to 9.17 million barrels per day, erasing the previous week's gain.
The latest US inventory data came amid market concern about the supply glut and a slowing global economy. Oil prices have fallen every day this week as disappointing Chinese and US economic data reinforced those slowdown worries.