Investing.com - Oil prices fell for a seventh-straight session on Wednesday, succumbing to the double whammy of a bigger-than-expected build in crude inventories and a slump in Wall Street stocks.
WTI futures settled down 98 cents, or 1.3%, at $52.64 per barrel.
Global benchmark Brent settled down $1.20, or 2%, at $57.64.
Crude prices have fallen without a pause since their last settlement higher on Sept. 23, losing about 11% in the seven-day stretch.
Wednesday's slide came as concerns about the U.S. economy triggered another sharp selloff on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 off 1.7%, falling below 2,900.
The ADP reported this morning that September private payrolls came in below expectations at 135,000. That followed Tuesday’s equity losses after the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI came in at a 10-year low.
That raises questions about future demand for oil in the U.S. at a time when global economies are already struggling.
Meanwhile, U.S. oil inventories showed a gain of 3.1 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts were expecting a rise of about 1.57 million barrels of crude for the week ended Sept. 27, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.
“At the outset, a headline build that’s double expectations is certainly bearish, considering that the API even called for a drawdown of nearly 6 million barrels,” Investing.com analyst Barani Krishnan said. “And imports are still averaging below 7 million bpd, so we should logically have less oil in circulation, all things being equal.”
“The mitigating factor might be that refinery runs remain grossly under the 95% level that we’ve become used to,” Krishnan added. “It could be the lingering impact of the recent floods in Texas and the disruption brought to refineries there.”
The EIA said gasoline inventories for the week fell by about 230,000 barrels, confounding forecasts for a build of about 450,000 barrels. Distillate stockpiles dropped by about 2.4 million barrels. Analysts had been looking for a decline of about 1.8 million barrels.
“The huge bright spot for bulls remains distillates, which saw another whopping draw of 2.4 million after the previous week’s 3 million,” Krishnan said. “Otherwise, it’s all kind of status quo with production, export and even Cushing stocks.”