Crude oil prices fell for a fourth day on Wednesday as jittery investors awaited official U.S. stockpile figures later in the day after industry data showed a surprise build in inventories, underlining the market's supply overhang.
The American Petroleum Institute said that crude stockpiles rose by 9.3 million barrels in the week to Oct. 28, more than nine times the amount expected by analysts polled by Reuters. [API/S]
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell by 70 cents to $45.97 by 0611 ET and Brent crude was down 69 cents at $47.45. Both contracts were at their lowest since Sept. 28.
Official inventory data from the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration will be released later today. [EIA/S]
Rising production from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also weighed on prices.
"We have increasing production from Libya and Nigeria helping to create more surplus. Also, all OPEC members are producing as much as they can to have a high base line to negotiate from at the OPEC meeting," said SEB chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.
Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Tuesday that oil output had recovered to 2.1 million barrels per day.
The West African country's Trans Niger Pipeline, one of two conduits to export Bonny Light crude, reopened on Oct. 28 after a month-long shutdown, a Shell spokeswoman said late on Tuesday.
Libya has doubled its output since mid-September and is currently producing about 590,000 bpd, state-run National Oil Corp said.
OPEC production is likely to set another record high in October at 33.82 million bpd from a revised 33.69 million bpd in September, according to a Reuters survey on Monday.
Prices have slumped in recent days as hopes have faded that oil producers would settle their differences and agree to output cuts when OPEC meets on Nov. 30.
"Those who were hoping for some upside from any sort of production agreement appear to have had their hopes dashed," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "It looks like there are speculative longs quitting the market."
Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco, the state-owned producer from Saudi Arabia, expects prices to rise in the first half of 2017 as the market returns to balance, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said late on Tuesday.
Nasser also said that preparations for the oil giant's initial public offering are going well and it is still aims to list in 2018.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by David Goodman