Oil Below $37 as Rising US Inventory Stokes Concerns

Oil Below $37 as Rising US Inventory Stokes ConcernsOil Below $37 as Rising US Inventory Stokes Concerns

Oil edged further below $37 a barrel on Wednesday as an industry report showing a rise in US crude stockpiles to a record countered support from producer efforts to tackle a supply glut.

US crude inventories jumped by 9.9 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said, much more than the 3.6-million-barrel increase analysts had forecast, Reuters reported.

Global benchmark Brent crude was down 19 cents at $36.62 a barrel. On Tuesday, it reached $37.25, the highest in almost two months. US crude, also known as WTI, was down 35 cents at $34.05.

"The strong inventory build reported by the API would explain why WTI is falling more than Brent," said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Brent has risen 35% from a 12-year low of $27.10 hit on Jan. 20, adding to expectations that further drops may not be on the cards. An analyst at the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday prices appeared to have bottomed.

Crude has collapsed from more than $100 in mid-2014, pressured by excess supply and a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to abandon its traditional role of cutting production by itself to boost prices. After more than a year of failing to agree any steps, OPEC and outside producers have stepped up diplomatic activity to fix the supply glut.  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela and non-OPEC producer Russia said on Feb. 16 they would freeze output but on the condition that other producers–Iran in particular—agree to join the pact.