By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com - Crude futures tumbled 5% Wednesday, reversing all of the previous day’s gains and more, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a crude inventory build for a second week in a row, disappointing oil bulls banking on a decline.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude was down $3.03, or 5.3%, at $54.07 per barrel by 1:15 PM ET (17:15 GMT), after rising 4% in the previous session.
London-traded Brent crude, the benchmark for oil outside of the U.S., fell back below the key $60 per barrel mark. Brent tumbled $2.97, or 4.9%, to $58.33 after rallying 4.6% on Tuesday.
The EIA reported a 1.6-million-barrel crude build in the week to August 9 versus market expectations for a 2.8-million-barrel draw.
The agency also reported deeper drawdowns in gasoline and distillates than expected by the market, but that wasn’t enough to turn the market around. The EIA said gasoline inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels, compared to expectations for a build of 30,000 barrels. Distillate stockpiles fell by 1.9 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a gain of 990,000 barrels.
While the peak summer driving period in the United States isn’t regarded as over until Labor Day, Sept. 2, EIA data of the past two weeks are indicating that the runaway demand for crude seen over the past two months may be drying up.
The crude build in the latest EIA report shows “last week wasn’t a fluke”, said Matt Smith, analyst at Clipperdata, a crude cargo tracking firm in New York. In the previous week to August 2, crude stockpiles rose by 2.4 million barrels, ending seven consecutive weeks of draws totaling nearly 50 million barrels.
A return in global economic worries also pressured oil.
The yield on the 10-Year Treasury fell below that of the 2-Year, inverting the yield curve for the first time since 2007.
“It’s a fairly good indicator for a recession to take place within a year if that inversion holds,” said Tariq Zahir, managing member at oil-focused hedge fund Tyche Capital Advisors in New York.
“Couple that along with an unresolved China trade tariffs going higher and you could have an implosion in crude prices coming,” Zahir added.
Oil had already been plummeting ahead of the EIA data release, following weak economic data in Asia overnight.
Chinese industrial output growth hit its lowest level in 17 years, data showed, while the German economy contracted in the second quarter.
Oil has also been dogged by volatility this month, with the U.S.-China trade war yanking crude prices around like a yo-yo.
Until Wednesday’s reversal, WTI had gained about 11% since August 7, its strongest four-day pullback since December 2016. Brent rose almost 9% in the same period.