SEOUL: Oil prices fell nearly 2 per cent on Wednesday, weighed down by a weaker demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing Opec-led supply cuts. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down $1.16, or 1.86 per cent, at $61.13 a barrel by 06:16 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $1.04, or 1.95 per cent, at $52.23 per barrel. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecasts for 2019 world oil demand growth and US crude oil production in a monthly report released on Tuesday.
The EIA lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd and wound back its forecast for 2019 US crude production to 12.32 million bpd, 140,000 bpd less than the May forecast. A surprise increase in US crude stockpiles also kept oil prices under pressure. “Investors have been concerned about the recent rise in stockpiles in the US,” ANZ bank said. US crude inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended June 7 to 482.8 million barrels, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. That compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 481,000 barrels. — Reuters