Investing.com – Oil prices fell on Wednesday morning in Asia, pulled down by a surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories. China’s yuan-denominated oil futures also met with volatility.
for May delivery were trading at $ 64.72 a barrel in Asia at 11:20PM ET (03:20 GMT), down 0.81%. for June delivery, traded in London, were down 0.71% at $ 68.97 per barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported late on Tuesday a surprise 5.3 million barrels increase in crude sticks in the week to March 23, to 430.6 million barrels. The report surprised many traders, causing Brent to fall back below $ 70 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crudes dipping below $ 65.
Official U.S. inventory data will be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) late on Wednesday.
The price falls came despite possibilities of extending production curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia. In an effort to prop up prices, OPEC has been cutting output since January 2017, and the pact is set to run through to the end of 2018.
Recently, Saudi Arabia has been pushing for the production curbs to be extended into 2019. Iraq, the second biggest producer within OPEC, said earlier this week that it also supports the agreement to cut oil output.
Meanwhile in Asia, Shanghai crude oil futures saw their third day of trading continuing with high volume but also volatility.
Shanghai crude oil futures were down by 4.17% to 408.60 yuan ($ 65.10) per barrel at 11:20 ET (03:20 GMT) on Wednesday.
In dollar-terms, that puts Chinese crude prices significantly below Brent and only slightly above U.S. WTI.
Nonetheless, the launch of China’s yuan-denominated oil futures is expected to give the world’s largest energy consumer more power in pricing crude sold to Asia, as well as provide a third global price benchmark alongside Brent and WTI.
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