Oil was little changed in New York after falling below $40 a barrel for the first time since August as producers’ output swelled global inventories to a record.
U.S. crude stockpiles climbed to 487.3 million barrels last week, the highest for this time of year since 1930, government data show. Oil inventories have expanded to almost 3 billion barrels because of growing output in OPEC and elsewhere, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Friday.
Crude has dropped by almost half in the past year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped above its collective quota and Russian output rose to a post-Soviet high, outpacing demand growth. Iran is pushing to regain oil sales lost to sanctions after agreeing in July to accept limits on its nuclear work in return for market access.
WTI for December delivery gained 8 cents to settle at $40.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures dropped as much as 1.9 percent to $39.91 earlier, the lowest intraday price since Aug. 27. The volume of all futures traded was 21 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for January settlement rose 57 cents, or 1.3 percent, to end the session at $44.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude closed at a $2.19 premium to January WTI.