After data showed an unexpectedly large increase in US crude inventories for the second week in a row, oil prices fell, adding to fears of lower fuel demand.
Thus, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 86 cents, or 1.1%, to $78.62 a barrel.
Brent crude futures fell 73 cents, or 0.9%, to $84.25 a barrel, to continue to incur losses after falling about 1% yesterday, Wednesday.
The market was weakened by concerns about a looming US economic downturn, after officials at the Federal Reserve said interest rates needed to rise by more than 5% to control inflation even after data showed retail sales fell more than expected in June. Dec.
“This raised the specter of a recession, with risk appetite hurting as a result,” analysts at ANZ Research said in a note to clients.
Adding insult to injury, the American Petroleum Institute data showed a rise in US crude oil inventories by about 7.6 million barrels in the week ending January 13, according to market sources.
Nine analysts polled by Reuters had expected, on average, a drop in crude inventories of around 600,000 barrels.
This is the second consecutive week of significant increases in inventories.
As for the continued possibility of a large increase in interest rates, the US dollar rose, which increased pressure on the demand for oil, as the strong dollar makes crude more expensive for holders of other currencies.