Oil slides as U.S. production surge stokes fears of global glut

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Oil prices gave up their gains Wednesday as U.S. production surged and fuel inventories climbed, stoking fears about an oversupply of crude.

American oil drillers pumped a record 11.9 MMbpd last week, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report. Stockpiles of gasoline climbed by 7.5 MMbbl — twice the jump analysts had forecast — overwhelming any optimism from a bigger-than-expected fall in domestic crude inventories.

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery fell 0.9% to $51.68 at 10:46 a.m. in New York, after rising above $52 before the report.

Prices bounced between gains and losses earlier in the day, amid conflicting data on how quickly global crude supplies may be shrinking. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said he was sure an OPEC-led plan to cut output will help inventories “return to normal averages” and “increase confidence” in the market.

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