Oil prices were little changed on Wednesday after the market absorbed government data that showed a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories, but also indicated some bullish demand for gasoline.
Brent crude futures were up 3 cents at $72.19 a barrel by 11:40 a.m. EDT (1540 GMT). The contract hit a session low of $71.19 a barrel, its lowest since April 17.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 4 cents to $68.04 a barrel.
U.S. crude stocks surprised the market and rose by 5.8 million barrels last week as oil production hit 11 million barrels a day for the first time ever, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude futures extended losses immediately following the data release, before edging higher as the market weighed some of the more supportive points in the report, such as a larger-than-expected draw in gasoline stocks.
"There were some supportive factors such as further declines in Cushing, Oklahoma, crude oil inventories, continued strong refinery demand and elevated gasoline demand, but the crude oil inventory rise is the standout, making for a bearish report," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.
Oil markets have fallen over the last week as Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia increased production and as some supply disruptions eased.
"The correction in the oil price represents something of a convergence between fundamentals and physical realities," said David Reid, lead crude market analyst at consultancy JBC Energy.
"We expect a fairly rapid lengthening in the (global oil supply) balance," Reid added.
Investors have also begun to worry about the impact on energy demand of the trade dispute between the United States and its trading partners, including China.
Trade tension between the United States and China could drag on the global economy, BMI Research said.
"The economic outlook is broadly positive, but a number of headwinds are emerging, not least a stronger dollar, rising inflationary pressures and tightening liquidity," BMI said. "Slowing trade growth will weigh on physical demand for oil."
Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said on Tuesday uncertainty over U.S. trade policy could slow the economy, even if recently imposed tariffs are too small to have a big impact.
Trade policy was a "significant" downside risk to the outlook for economic growth, George said.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)