Oil price slips under $49 on inventory rise
London (Oct 15) Oil fell under $49 per barrel on Thursday, as selling continued after a jump in U.S. stockpiles shown in industry data the day before.
Brent LCOc1 eased 20 cents to $48.95 a barrel by 1131 GMT. On Wednesday it hit a low of $48.71, the weakest since Oct. 5.
U.S. crude CLc1 fell 54 cents to $46.10 a barrel after settling down 2 cents at $46.64. Both benchmarks are down around 7 percent so far this week.
Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 9.4 million barrels in the week to Oct. 9 to 465.96 million, versus analyst forecasts for a 2.8 million barrels build. [API/S]
Investors are awaiting inventory data from the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration at 1500 GMT. A poll of nine analysts predicted a crude stock build of 2.9 million barrels on average in the week ended Oct. 9. [EIA/S]
Some analysts pointed to further weakness in the months ahead with a possible eventual interest rate rise in the United States pushing the dollar higher, which makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.
"So here is the set up: In December the Fed will hike rates and OPEC will not cut output. In Q1 of 2016, global oil inventories rise further and oil prices will drop," Bjarne Schieldrop chief commodity analyst at SEB in Oslo told the Reuters Global Oil forum.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets in December. The producer group is expected to hold to its policy of maintaining market share, highlighted by Saudi Arabia's push into Russia's regional market.
The world's big oil exporters pumped more than half a billion barrels more crude than needed in the first nine months of this year, industry data gathered by Reuters and major energy market forecasters show.
In the first nine months of 2015, China's crude imports rose 8.8 percent to 248.62 million tonnes, which some traders said had lent the market support.
"We believe the downside potential for oil prices is limited and expect to see moderately rising prices in the coming weeks and months," Carsten Fritsch at Commerzbank said.
"After all, there are increasing signs that non-OPEC supply is already decreasing noticeably as a consequence of the low prices."