Oil declined as expanding U.S. crude inventories kept supplies at the highest level in more than eight decades.
Futures lost as much as 1 percent, erasing a 0.9 percent gain Wednesday. Stockpiles increased for a second week to 507.6 million barrels, the most since 1930, according to an Energy Information Administration report. Prices won’t recover until the second half of next year at the earliest, Mexican Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said at a conference in Houston, estimating that the market is oversupplied by about 2 million barrels a day.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery fell as much as 32 cents to $ 31.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $ 31.86 at 3:05 p.m. Hong Kong time. The contract rose 28 cents to $ 32.15 Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 26 percent above the 100-day average. Prices lost 30 percent last year.
Brent for April settlement lost as much as 39 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $ 34.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract advanced $ 1.14, or 3.4 percent, to $ 34.41 on Wednesday. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $ 2.24 to WTI.