Oil prices fall as U.S. inventory build prompts profit-taking

An oil pump is seen at sunset outside Scheibenhard, near Strasbourg, France, October 6, 2017. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices plunged on Friday, after rising to seven-year highs this week, as an increase in U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles prompted investors to take profits from the rally.

Brent crude futures dropped $1.36 to $87.02 a barrel by 0551 GMT.

The contract earlier fell by as much as 3%, the most since Dec. 20. The global benchmark touched $89.50 a barrel on Thursday, its highest since October 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slid 6 cents to $86.90 a barrel.

The contract earlier fell as much as 3.2%, also the most since Dec. 20, after rising to its highest since October 2014 on Wednesday.

The recent rally in crude prices appeared to run out of steam on Thursday when Brent and WTI ended the trading session with slim losses. Both benchmarks have gained more than 10% so far this year amid concerns over tight supply.

“Investors made short-term adjustments in their positions after an increase in U.S. inventory and ahead of the weekend,” Reuters quoted Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities, as saying.

the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said gasoline inventories in the United States rose by 5.9 million barrels, to their highest since February 2021, according to Reuters.

Crude stockpiles rose by 515,000 barrels last week, against industry expectations.

The EIA also reported a slight decline in refinery runs, indicating lower demand for crude, Reuters reported.

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