- WTI crude falls more than 6% to $50.44/barrel; Brent crude falls more than 5% to $56.52/barrel.
- US crude inventories climb 10.95 million barrels to a new record of 482.39 million last week, according to EIA.
- Saudi Arabia crude production reached 10.3 million bpd in March, a record high.
Oil prices retreated sharply on Wednesday after government data showed US crude inventories rose at the fastest rate since 2001, while production in Saudi Arabia climbed to a record high last month, exacerbating the global supply glut that has halved prices since last summer.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for May delivery fell more than 6 percent to $50.44 a barrel. The US benchmark had climbed to nearly two-month highs earlier in the week, as concerns about rising Iranian oil exports waned.
Global benchmark Brent crude tumbled nearly 5 percent to $55.52 a barrel. Brent had gained around 10 percent over the past two days, closing at its highest level this year.
On Wednesday the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported another record buildup in US crude supplies for the week ended April 3. US crude inventories surged by 10.95 million barrels to 482.39 million, a new record. It was also the biggest single-week gain since 2001. A median estimate of analysts called for an increase of around 3.4 million barrels.
Crude oil inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery points climbed by 1.2 million barrels, which was also much bigger than expected, the EIA said.
The report came one day after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom’s output rose to a record high of 10.3 million barrels per day in March. The oil minister acknowledged that production levels would likely remain close to 10 million barrels per day moving forward.
On Sunday the Saudi regime raised pricing to Asia, a sign demand was gradually improving. The OPEC kingpin has stated it would consider improving prices – in other words, scaling back production – only if producers outside of the cartel lowered their production levels.
OPEC members produced approximately 31.5 million barrels per month in March.