Oil fell as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded last week, adding to the country’s biggest-ever annual growth.
Inventories rose 2.63 million barrels, capping an expansion of more than 100 million barrels this year, the most in EIA data going back to 1920. A 2.5 million-barrel drop was projected in a Bloomberg survey. Supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude, climbed to a record.
Crude output rose by 23,000 barrels a day to 9.2 million. That’s down from a four-decade high of 9.61 million reached in June, weekly data show. The gain occurred a week after U.S. producers put 17 more rigs back to work drilling for oil. The current count stands at 538, close to the least in five years, according to data compiled by Baker Hughes Inc.
WTI for February delivery dropped $1.27, or 3.4 percent, to settle at $36.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 49 percent below the 100-day average at 2:40 p.m. The contract is down 31 percent this year.
Brent for February settlement fell $1.33, or 3.5 percent, to $36.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are down 36 percent this year. The European benchmark closed at a 14-cent discount to WTI.