Oil fell to the lowest in six weeks as U.S. crude stockpiles increased more than estimated and gasoline use fell to a 10-year low. Brent crude in London was at the biggest premium to New York oil in 12 weeks.
Futures declined for a fifth day, losing as much as 1 percent after an Energy Department report yesterday showed crude supplies in the U.S. rose by 4.2 million barrels last week. Inventories were projected to increase 2.6 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Talks on Iran’s nuclear program have made little progress, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in Beijing today.
“The bears worried about poor demand after last night’s data and prices weakened,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London, who expects Brent crude to trade in a range of $110.50 to $112.50 a barrel this week. “But Iran is still a cause for concern.’’
Crude for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell as much as 95 cents to $96.66 a barrel, the lowest since Dec. 20, and was at $96.88 at 10:17 a.m. London time. The contract fell 0.9 percent yesterday to $97.61 a barrel. Prices are down 2 percent this year.