Oil traded near $48 a barrel before US government data forecast to show crude stockpiles increased for a sixth week in the world’s biggest consumer.
Futures gained as much as 0.7 percent in New York after advancing 3.8 percent Tuesday. Inventories probably expanded by 2.5 million barrels in the US, keeping supplies more than 100 million barrels higher than the five-year seasonal average, a Bloomberg survey shows before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday.
Crude may never rise to $100 a barrel again, according to Vitol Group, the world’s largest oil independent trader.
Crude has slumped almost 40 percent the past year amid speculation the global glut will be prolonged as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to pump above its collective quota. Shipments from a Libyan port were halted Tuesday amid an escalating dispute between the nation’s two rival administrations, while striking workers crimped supply from Brazil.
“We have seen the rally that started on October 28 run into some resistance around the $48 a barrel level,” Ole Sloth Hansen, an analyst at Saxo Bank A/S, said by e-mail from Copenhagen. “The focus will now switch to the inventory report for clues about production.”
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose 11 cents to $48.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1 p.m. London time. The contract gained $1.76 to $47.90 on Tuesday. The volume of all futures traded was about 9 percent above the 100- day average.
Brent for December settlement climbed 9 cents to $50.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It added $1.75, or 3.6 percent, on Tuesday. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $2.65 to WTI.
Crude prices will increase if global economic growth improves, Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said in Riyadh Wednesday. OPEC shouldn’t cut production on its own to balance the market, he said.
“There are signs of improvements in market but there are no clear signs to say that recovery or rebalancing will happen in this quarter or that quarter,” Omair said. “When we meet next month in Vienna we will have a better view of the situation.”
Crude stockpiles in the U.S. probably rose for a sixth week through Oct. 30, the Bloomberg survey shows. That would be the longest run of gains since April. Refinery rates probably climbed by 0.3 percentage points to 87.9 percent of capacity, according to the survey.
Nationwide inventories expanded by 2.8 million barrels last week, according to multiple Twitter postings and a person familiar with data published by the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute.
Brazil’s daily oil output has been affected by a workers strike at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, with output at one of the main basins down by about 400,000 barrels a day, according to a local union. The company estimates the current strike is cutting daily crude output by 8.5 percent, according to a regulatory filing.
Libya’s oil production has dropped to less than 400,000 barrels a day after the halt of shipments from Zueitina amid the escalating conflict between the country’s two rival administrations. The Tripoli-based NOC declared force majeure on shipments on Tuesday.
“Supply cuts are always important during this period, where most of the negative sentiment has been driven by too much supply,” Saxo’s Hansen said. Brazil and Libya contributed to Tuesday’s price increase, he said.
US oil production will fall by 1 million barrels a day from its peak by early next year, Vitol Chief Executive Officer Ian Taylor said at a conference in London Wednesday. The nation’s output rose to more than 9.6 million barrels a day in June, EIA data show.