Oil dropped for a second day in New York as a decline in China’s fuel imports and speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles rose to the highest in 22 years raised concern of slowing global demand.
Futures slid as much as 0.7 percent. U.S. inventories probably increased 2 million barrels to 364.4 million last week, the most for this time of year since 1990, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow. China’s net crude imports fell 6 percent in March and overseas purchases of all goods missed economists’ estimates, customs data showed. The two nations are the world’s biggest oil consumers. Prices have gained this year on worry that tension with Iran will disrupt global supplies.
“We are now between winter and summer with relatively low demand and high refinery maintenance,” Bjarne Schieldrop, Oslo- based chief commodity analyst at SEB AB, said today in an e- mailed response. Given the previous two weeks’ increases in U.S. stockpiles, “the market is likely to be cautious on the bull side with concern that we could see yet another strong rise tomorrow.”
Oil for May delivery fell as much as 71 cents to $101.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $101.77 at 11:19 a.m. London time.