Crude oil fell for a second day after the Energy Information Administration reported U.S. inventories rose last week.
Crude supplies increased by 4.51-million barrels in the week ended March 6 to 448.9 million, the EIA, the Energy Department's statistical arm, said. That's the highest level since EIA weekly data started in 1982. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected an increase of 4.75 million.
Oil is failing to sustain a rebound this year amid speculation that a global supply glut that drove prices into a bear market in 2014 may worsen. U.S. crude production and inventories have surged to the highest levels in more than three decades, according to the EIA. The number of rigs drilling for oil fell for a 13th week to 922 as of March 6, according to services company Baker Hughes Inc.
WTI for April delivery fell 45 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $47.84 (U.S.) a barrel at 10:34 a.m. ET on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was about 25 per cent below the 100-day average for the time of day.
Brent for April settlement gained 19 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $56.58 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for WTI futures, rose 2.32 million barrels to 51.5 million. Gasoline inventories fell 187,000 to 239.9 million, and distillates increased 2.53 million to 125.5 million.
WTI will trade at $52.15 a barrel this year versus a February projection of $55.02, the EIA said on Tuesday in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Production will climb to 9.35 million barrels a day in 2015, up 50,000 from last month's estimate.