Oil was down Thursday morning in Asia, but remained near three-month lows. An uptick in global COVID-19 cases, alongside a build in U.S. gasoline inventories, all increased pressure on the black liquid.
Both Brent and WTI futures were under the $70-mark, after falling more than 5% over the past six sessions, and traded near their lowest level since May 24 during the previous session.
“Crude prices continue to look vulnerable around those mid to late summer support levels, $65 in WTI and $67 in Brent,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA Europe, said in a note.
Oil has been hit hard by decreasing demand in China, the top oil importer globally, as restrictive measures to curb the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak remain in place.
Concerns over slower fuel demand were exacerbated by a surprise build in U.S. gasoline inventories. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed a 696,000-barrel build in gasoline supplies. Investing.com forecasts had predicted a draw of 1.671 million barrels, while a 1.4-million-barrel draw was recorded during the previous week.
The EIA data also showed a 3.234-million-barrel draw in U.S. crude oil supplies in the week to Aug. 13. Investing.com forecasts predicted a 1.055-million-barrel draw, while a 447,000-barrel draw was reported during the previous week.
Crude oil data from the American Petroleum Institute released the day before, showed a draw of 1.163 million barrels.