Oil prices fell slightly in early Asian trade on Wednesday, weighed down by global central banks’ efforts to contain inflation and ahead of expected increases in US crude inventories as product demand deteriorates.
Brent crude fell 39 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $106.96 per barrel, while WTI crude in the United States fell 62 cents to $103.60 per barrel.
According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday, US crude stocks increased by about 1.9 million barrels for the week ended July 15.
On Tuesday, the US 3:2:1 and gasoline crack spreads, both measures of refining profit margins, fell to their lowest levels since April, indicating weaker fuel demand.
Oil prices swung back and forth in the previous session, caught in a tug of war between supply concerns caused by Western sanctions against Russia and pressures from central bankers signaling that interest rates will be raised to combat inflation.
On Friday, open interest in New York Mercantile Exchange futures fell to its lowest level since September 2015, as investors reduced their exposure to risky assets such as commodities, concerned that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise US interest rates.