Shafaq News/ Oil prices eased on Wednesday as an unexpected jump in U.S. oil inventories fueled concerns over slow demand. Still, upbeat news on COVID-19 vaccines boosted investor optimism about fuel demand recovery, capping losses.
Brent crude futures slipped 18 cents, or 0.4%, to $48.66 a barrel by 0450 GMT, having gained 5 cents the previous day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 15 cents, or 0.3%, to $45.45, after shedding 16 cents on Tuesday.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said that on Tuesday, U.S. crude oil, gasoline, and distillate stocks rose sharply last week, with crude stocks jumping by 1.14 million barrels. Official weekly oil data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due on Wednesday.
Britain began mass-vaccinating its population on Tuesday in a global drive that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history.
The vaccine news helped offset fears from a sharp rise in coronavirus cases globally, leading to a string of renewed lockdowns, including strict measures in California, Germany, and South Korea.
Hedge fund managers were substantial buyers of petroleum futures and options last week for a fourth week in a row, a sign of increasing confidence that coronavirus vaccines will drive a recovery in oil consumption next year.