Investing.com - Oil prices extended sharp losses from the prior session in Europe trade on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia dashed hopes for collective production cuts and following bearish industry data on U.S. stockpiles.
Crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 64 cents, or 2.01%, to trade at $31.23 a barrel by 08:00GMT, or 3:00AM ET. A day earlier, New York-traded oil futures tumbled $1.52, or 4.55%.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. oil inventories rose by 7.1 million barrels in the week ended February 19, disappointing market players who were expecting an increase of 3.0 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI increased by 307,000 barrels, the API said, raising fears that the nation's largest storage facility is nearing full capacity.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 15:30GMT, or 10:30AM ET, Wednesday, amid expectations for a gain of 3.5 million barrels.
U.S. oil prices are down nearly 17% so far this year as a domestic supply glut dragged down prices.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for April delivery declined 35 cents, or 1.05%, to trade at $32.91 a barrel.
On Tuesday, London-traded Brent futures slumped $1.42, or 4.09%, as hopes for a supply cut dimmed after Saudi Arabia and Iran dismissed the possibility of reducing or freezing output.
Speaking before an audience at the CERAWeek 2016 Energy conference in Houston, Saudi Arabia oil minister Ali al-Naimi said that the kingdom will not lower production from its current levels, resisting calls to slash output in an effort to boost prices.
Meanwhile, Iran made clear it has no interest in freezing production after sanctions against it were lifted, calling last week’s joint Russian/Saudi proposal for major exporters to cap output “ridiculous” and "laughable".
Oil futures are down nearly 70% since the summer of 2014. Global crude production is outpacing demand following a boom in U.S. shale oil and after a decision by OPEC last year not to cut production in order to defend market share.
Meanwhile, Brent's premium to the West Texas Intermediate crude contract stood at $1.68 a barrel, compared to a gap of $1.40 by close of trade on Tuesday.
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