NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell as much 1 percent for a second day in a row on Tuesday as a rallying dollar and a global fuel glut offset forecasts for lower U.S. crude stockpiles that typically would have been bullish for the market.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 2.3 million barrels last week, trade group American Petroleum Institute (API) reported. That was just above a 2.1 million-barrels draw forecast in a Reuters poll. The U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) will issue inventory data on Wednesday.
If the EIA confirms a drawdown, it will be the ninth straight week that U.S. crude stockpiles have fallen.
Even so, the market’s attention has been on an unexpected oversupply in fuels during the U.S. peak summer driving season. As storage on land tightened in recent weeks, fuel prices weakened, prompting traders to store diesel on tankers at sea for later delivery. Even if crude output tapers, some say the glut may continue to pressure prices.
“Unless crude imports fall totally out of bed, there’s ample oil in the tanks, and the headline numbers for crude won’t be as bearish as the total numbers,” said Kyle Cooper, oil markets consultant for New York-based broker ION Energy.
For distillate inventories including diesel, API reported a surprise draw of 484,000 barrels. It also said there was an unexpected gasoline build of 805,000 barrels.
“We expect fresh lows by tomorrow that should force out some recently acquired speculative longs that have been entering the market amidst the price consolidation of the past eight to nine sessions,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.
Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 30 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $46.66 barrel. It fell 1.4 percent on Monday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $44.65. WTI lost 1.6 percent in the previous session.
Brent’s premium to WTI LCOc1-CLc2 reached its highest since the end of April, raising the export potential for U.S. crude.
Both benchmarks were little changed after the API data.
Also weighing on oil was the dollar’s DXY rally to a four-month high, making greenback-denominated oil less affordable for holders of the euro and other currencies.
Earlier in the session, a protest over wages that shut the eastern Libyan oil terminal of Hariga and forced a suspension of 100,000 barrels per day of crude production helped the market limit some losses.
Additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov in LONDON; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio