Oil slides toward $57 on signs U.S. gasoline stockpiles expanded

WTI Crude Oil

Distillate inventories also saw a build this week, rising 4.259-million barrels, against a forecast of a 548,000-barrel build.

US crude on Wednesday slid almost 3 percent on Wednesday, its biggest daily decline in more than two months, after a sharp rise in USA inventories of refined fuel suggested demand may be flagging, while USA crude production hit another weekly record.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.50 a barrel, down 22 cents.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the global benchmark for oil prices, were down 6 cents at $62.80 a barrel as of 0751 GMT.

Crude oil inventories fell 5.6 million barrels in the December 1 week to 448.1 million, 7.8 percent below the level a year ago, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its weekly report Wednesday. Inventories at Cushing probably slid by 2.4 million barrels, a separate forecast compiled by Bloomberg showed.

This week's unexpectedly large build in gasoline inventories is likely to put downward pressure on oil prices.

Brent Crude Oil
Daily February Brent Crude Oil

Traders expect data from the API and EIA to show crude stocks fell 3.5 million barrels last week.

Refiners "actually beat demand with [gasoline] production at a near record 9.758 million barrels a day, compared to daily demand of 8.895 million barrels a day last week", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

"As refiners are encouraged to keep running full tilt, and as oil imports remain depressed, crude inventories continue to draw, while gasoline inventories rise", said Smith.

US output rose in September to 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest monthly output since 2015, the EIA said last week.

Outside the United States, analysts said supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers - last week extended to all of next year - have helped lift Brent prices by more than 40 percent since June, and more than 130 percent since early 2016, when they hit their lowest level since 2003.

"With U.S. production, we're still in the throes of seeing that go ever higher". He is now striking a remarkably upbeat tone (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trader-who-predicted-oil-under-30-says-prices-could-rally-to-100-2017-12-06) on the commodity.

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