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NEW DELHI: Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday after data released showed an unexpected build-up US inventories, highlighting demand concerns. According to data from American Petroleum Institute, US crude stockpiles rose by about 2.2 million barrels in the week ended 5 August.

At 1050 am, the October contract of Brent on the Intercontinental Exchange was at $96.12 per barrel, down 0.20% from previous close. September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures on the NYMEX fell 0.33% to $90.20 a barrel.

Ravindra Rao, head of commodity research at Kotak Securities, said, “API weekly report is largely negative as it noted a bigger than expected 2.156 million barrels increase in US crude oil stocks, a slightly smaller than expected decline in gasoline stocks and an unexpected rise in distillate stocks. API report has raised prospect of an increase in US crude stocks and if EIA report due later today matches API report , we may see some correction in prices."

Rahul Kalantri, VP Commodities, Mehta Equities Ltd noted, that crude prices traded lower even as oil exports from Russia to Europe were suspended through the Druzhba pipeline which passes through Ukraine.

“On the other hand, surging covid-19 cases in China once again raised concerns of lower oil demand in the coming days. OPEC+ nations are also gradually increasing their oil outputs even as global industrial activities have been slowing down due to Covid-19 and geo-political tensions thus impacting global oil demand. The U.S. inflation report will also be in focus today, which also gives directions to the global commodity prices," Kalantri said.

Investors now await the OPEC’s monthly oil market outlook scheduled to be released on 11 August. In its July report, the cartel had said that global oil demand is likely to rise in 2023 but at a slower pace than 2022.

Meanwhile, in India, retail prices of petrol and diesel have remained unchanged for a while now. In the national capital, petrol sold for 96.72 a litre on Wednesday, while diesel was priced at 89.62 per litre.

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