US oil prices pared gains after data from US Energy Information Administration showed that domestic crude inventories jumped to a new record to overshadow a slump in the dollar.
Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery was most recently up 43 cents or 0.9% at $47.93 a barrel after having hit highs of $48.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent, the global benchmark was up 50 cents or 0.9% to $55.61a barrel on the London-based ICE futures exchange. It had earlier traded at $56.25 a barrel.
The EIA announced that the country’s stockpiles had grown by 8.2 million barrels in the week ending Friday.
This is the highest in monthly data in 80 years and is higher than the market expectation of growth by about 5.1 million barrels during the same week made by 8 analysts polled by Reuters.
In weekly data, which is not always aligned with monthly data, the glut is the highest since 1982.
Oil prices have suffered in the recent past on concerns that the continued oversupply and weak demand will cause some areas to run out of storage space.
Cushing, Oklahoma; a key storage and delivery hub for the benchmark Nymex contract, added 1.9 million barrels during the week to 56.3 million barrels.
This is the highest the stockpiles have been since 2004 according to data from the EIA. Its official storage capacity is documented at 70.8 million barrels.
“Bottom line, we’re filling up those stockpiles and as long as refinery operations are subdued, we’re going to see these” additions, Mark Waggoner, president of brokerage Excel Futures, told the Wall Street Journal.
“This is about the time we ought to sell.”
The wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against other major currencies, slipped 0.4% Wednesday morning.
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