Oil drops as industry data show U.S. gasoline stockpiles grew

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, released data showing a 9.2 million-barrel rise in gasoline stocks and a 4.3 million-barrel increase in distillate inventories for the week ended December 1, even as crude stocks came down by 5.5 million barrels.

Refinery crude runs rose by 192,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed.

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At the time of writing, WTI was trading at US$56.71 a barrel, with Brent at US$62.02, both down from yesterday's close.

US commercial crude stocks fell by 5.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories gained 6.8 million barrels.

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"We were overdue a little bit of profit-taking and the build up in gasoline inventories was the ideal excuse to do just that", said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at brokerage CMC Markets. So far companies have chosen to hedge at the higher prices rather than drill as they try to return to positive cash flow. WTI settled at $57.62 on Tuesday and opened at $57.45 Wednesday morning. Traders have been at odds over frequent discrepancies between the API, which is also the oil and gas industry's main lobby, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent division of the Energy Department. The API report showed an increase of 9.196 million barrels, compared to forecasts of a much smaller 1.145-million-barrel build. The EIA today confirmed a large build of 6.8 million barrels. Exports of refined products fell by 875,000 barrels a day last week to 5.04 million barrels a day.

Analysts said a weak trend in global markets, where oil prices dropped, mainly led to fall in crude prices at futures trade here.

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The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEARCA: OIH) traded down about 1.3%, at $24.66 in a 52-week range of $21.70 to $36.35.

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