“West Texas Intermediate was poised for its first monthly decline since October. U.S. crude stockpiles rose less than forecast, and fuel demand increased in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures dropped as much as 0.4 percent, and have lost 5.2 percent this month, the first February since 2006 that WTI has fallen. Crude supplies climbed 1.1 million barrels last week, data from the Energy Department showed, more than the 2.5 million increase forecast in a Bloomberg survey. U.S. fuel consumption averaged 18.5 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up 2 percent from 2012, according to the report.
“The EIA delivered a mixed set of U.S. fuel inventory numbers,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London who predicts that WTI will trade from $90 to $94.70 a barrel next month. “We are in the refinery maintenance season, when demand slackens.”
WTI for April delivery was down 11 cents at $92.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New YorkMercantile Exchange at 12:47 a.m. in London. The volume of all futures traded was 29 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange advanced 35 cents to $112.22 a barrel. Volumes were about 45 percent of the 100-day average. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $19.57 to WTI futures, compared with $19.11 yesterday.