Oil Falls on Global-Recovery Fears


Crude oil futures on Wednesday ended lower for the sixth session as they tracked tumbling prices for other commodities amid worries about Europe's political future and global growth.

Crude oil for June delivery declined 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $96.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was crude's lowest settlement since Feb. 2, and the longest losing streak since a six-day down-spiral run in July 2010.

Prices have lost 8.8 percent in the past six days, and so far this month are down 7.7 percent.

Oil trimmed losses, however, after a weekly government inventories report and after news Greece will get most of its aid tranche from the European bailout fund.

Earlier Wednesday, the US Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories rising 3.7 million barrels -- that compared with expectations of an increase of 2.2 million, according to analysts polled by Platts, but it was less drastic than the increase a trade group reported late Tuesday.

The EIA also reported gasoline supplies down 2.6 million barrels, and inventories of distillates down 3.3 million barrels. The analysts polled by Platts had forecast gasoline inventories down 600,000 barrels and unchanged supplies for distillates, which include heating oil.

Meanwhile, June gasoline gained three cents, or one percent, to end at $3.02 a gallon, while June heating oil lost one cent, or 0.3 percent, to $2.99.

June natural gas also bucked the downward trend alongside gasoline, up seven cents, or three percent, to $2.465 per million British thermal units.