Oil prices rallied in New York Thursday despite US stockpiles hitting a fresh all-time high, while Brent slipped.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for July, closed at $93.61 a barrel, up 48 cents from Wednesday.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July dropped $1.80 to $102.43 a barrel in London trade.
The New York benchmark contract, which dived more than $1 in opening trade, rebounded into positive territory as the market shrugged off the US government’s latest weekly report on commercial petroleum inventories showing crude at its highest level in more than 80 years.
Crude stockpiles jumped by three million barrels in the week ended May 24 to 397.6 million barrels, striking an all-time peak since the start of the weekly data in 1982, the Department of Energy reported.
The supplies also were the highest since May 1931, according to the department’s monthly inventories reports.
“This was really a bearish report. I don’t know why it doesn’t show in prices,” said James Williams of WTRG Economics.
“It might be traders repositioning themselves after yesterday’s drop,” he said. WTI shed $1.88 after 2013 growth forecasts were cut for the global economy and for China.
“The economic front still looks bearish for crude,” Williams said. “We have far more crude oil than we need.”
Williams said the market was volatile ahead of the OPEC production meeting Friday.
Analysts expect that OPEC will leave its oil output ceiling at 30 million barrels per day, where it has stood since the end of 2011, despite actual output running above this target level.
The oil ministers of Iraq, Venezuela and Angola on Thursday indicated support to keep the cartel’s output unchanged.