Oil slips to near $93 on rising US crude supplies

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 15, 2012 12:02 hrs

$93 a barrel Wednesday as an unexpected increase in oil supplies in the U.S. more than offset retail sales data showing Americans spending more.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for September delivery was down 32 cents at $93.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 70 cents to end at $93.43 in New York on Tuesday.

In London, Brent crude was down 22 cents at $113.81 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. The contract has gained close to $8 this month.

The declines came despite government figures showing Americans increased their retail spending in July by the most in five months. A gain of 0.8 percent over June was four times greater than expectations and followed three straight monthly declines.

Traders were remaining cautious, however, after the American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles in the U.S. rose some 2.8 million barrels last week. Expectations were for a drop of 1.7 million, according to Natalie Rampono, a commodities analyst at ANZ Banking Group in Melbourne.

"It is a negative signal for demand," she said.

The stockpile report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out later Wednesday.

Oil prices were also under pressure from a stronger dollar, which makes crude more expensive and a less appealing investment for traders using other currencies. The euro was down to $1.2279 on Wednesday from $1.2320 on Tuesday.

In other futures trading on the Nymex, gasoline fell marginally to $3.01 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.5 cents to $3.029 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.8 cents to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.

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