The price of oil dropped below $93 a barrel Wednesday as a U.S. report on crude supplies pointed to a surprisingly high increase last week. If confirmed, it would be the 10th consecutive week of rising crude stocks.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down $1.06 at $92.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volumes were low, muted by Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.
The oil contract, which fell 41 cents on Tuesday, is down from about $104 in early October due to a muted outlook for demand, high supplies and reduced tensions in the oil rich Middle East.
The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude stockpiles added 6.9 million barrels the week ending Nov. 22. That contrasted with a decline of 1.5 million barrels expected by a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The weekly report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on later Wednesday.
"We continue to receive a fairly gloomy picture for the oil fundamentals after continuous builds in crude oil stocks that show a lack of oil demand from the U.S.," said analysts from London's Sucden Financial Research in a note to clients.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 22 cents at $111.10 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London. Brent's rise and widening spread to the Nymex contract was attributed to new disruptions of oil exports from Libya, a key supplier to European markets.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.6 cent to $2.688 a gallon.
— Heating oil was nearly flat at $3.042 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $3.839 per 1,000 cubic feet.