Rising U.S. Oil Stocks Weigh on Prices

By Christopher Alessi and Alison SiderFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Oil prices extended their losing streak Thursday as rising U.S. petroleum inventories and wavering demand forecasts continued to weigh on the market.

U.S. crude futures fell for a third straight day, settling down 19 cents, or 0.34%, at $55.14 a barrel. Brent, the global benchmark, slid for a fifth consecutive session, falling 51 cents, or 0.82%, to $61.36 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

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"I think we've exhausted a technical run in the market," said Stephen Schork, editor of the energy trading newsletter the Schork Report. "We had a heck of a ride."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday released data showing that crude stockpiles climbed by 1.9 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 10, ahead of analysts' forecasts. That came on the heels of the International Energy Agency's downward revision to its demand forecasts for this year and next, which sparked a selloff Tuesday.

The two reports this week have helped stymie a rally that sent oil prices up more than 20% since the start of September.

"The damage created from the IEA downbeat outlook for oil demand can still be seen in the commodity's price action, while Wednesday's EIA report has market players pondering over how OPEC deals with rising production of U.S. shale," analysts at brokerage FXTM wrote Thursday.

The rally has been fueled in part by interest from Wall Street. Hedge funds and other money managers piled into bullish positions on crude futures in recent weeks -- something that put oil at risk of a cascading selloff if investors rush for the exits, analysts said.

"If you're a bull, you need to be very, very concerned that you're part of a big crowd," said Kyle Cooper, analyst at ION Energy Group.

Oil market observers have cautioned higher prices could incentivize U.S. shale oil producers to increase their output, which could slow the market rebalance and weigh on prices.

The EIA on Wednesday also said U.S. oil production rose to a record weekly high last week of 9.645 million barrels.

Analysts and investors are looking ahead to a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna in two weeks. The cartel and other major producers including Russia are expected to extend an agreement to curb global production through next year. The deal, first agreed last year, has reined in global supply by roughly 2% and is set to expire in March.

Gasoline futures fell 2.51 cents, or 1.44%, to $1.7137 a gallon. Diesel futures fell 0.66 cent, or 0.35%, to $1.9021 a gallon.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com and Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 15:43 ET (20:43 GMT)