Oil pares gain on big rise in US inventories

LONDON - Oil traded near $115 a barrel on Wednesday, paring an earlier gain, after a U.S. government report showed crude oil inventories rose much more than expected in the world's largest consumer.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 20 Aug 2008, 9:50 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:55 AM

Crude oil stocks rose 9.4 million barrels, far more than the 800,000 barrel increase analysts expected. Gasoline stocks fell by 6.2 million barrels, more than the forecast for a 2.7 million-barrel decline.

"The data will present a battle today between a very bearish crude figure and a bullish gasoline number and so far, the huge crude build appears to be winning," said analyst Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch & Associates.

U.S. crude rose 30 cents to $114.83 a barrel by 1501 GMT, of an intra-day high of $117.03. London Brent crude gained 40 cents to $113.65.

The Energy Information Administration report also showed supplies of distillates rose by 500,000 barrels, 100,000 barrels more than expected.

Oil was higher before the U.S. supply report was released as Goldman Sachs, the biggest investment bank in the commodities market, reiterated its view that oil would hit $149 a barrel by the end of 2008.

The market has fallen from a record high of $147.27 in July, pressured by evidence that demand is weakening and as strength in the U.S. dollar reduced the appeal of oil and commodities as an inflation hedge.

Dollar weakness earlier this year had drawn investors into the oil market.

Oil had eased earlier on Wednesday due to signs of slowing demand in Asia, source of much of the world's growth in consumption.

Asia is seeing a slowdown in diesel demand among major buyers China, Indonesia and Vietnam, endangering the boom that has propelled oil prices to record highs this year.

Chinese state oil refiners Sinopec Corp and PetroChina will suspend diesel imports next month, having built up supplies to cover for the Olympics.

"There are quite a few signs of demand warnings from Asia. It is a new development and it has not been factored in," Olivier Jakob with Petrometorix said.

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