Oil prices dipped below US$75 a barrel in New York after an unexpected increase in crude stockpiles that raised concerns of slowing economic growth. The Energy Department reported stockpiles to rise by 970,000 barrels to 358.3 million last week. They were forecast to drop 1.75 mln barrels because of a shortfall in US supply from Canada after a shutdown of Enbridge Energy Partners LP 6A pipeline. However, this shortfall was met by rising imports in other regions. Crude oil imports rose 295,000 bpd to 9.3 mln. Overseas transfers of fuel products jumped 11% to 2.5 mln bpd.
Gasoline supplies also climbed and are now 15 per cent higher than their five-year average and distillate stockpiles are now 23.3 per cent above the five-year mean.
This points to lack of demand as the major industries that use oil intensely in the US are still sluggish. Prices also declined as equities fell after a drop in US home prices, raising concern the economic recovery will falter.