Oil steadied on Wednesday, trading close to $42 a barrel, with a report that US crude inventories unexpectedly rose capping prices and as growing
numbers of coronavirus cases around the world raised concern of stalling demand.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said crude inventories rose by 691,000 barrels rather than falling as analysts forecast. Official inventory numbers from the Energy Information Administration are due at 1430 GMT.
Oil collapsed as the pandemic decimated demand, with Brent falling below $16, a 21-year low, in April. A record output cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, has helped revive prices.
OPEC faces a new challenge in that Libya, an OPEC member exempt from the supply cut, is aiming to boost supply after an easing of the country’s conflict. Still, previous recoveries have not lasted.
“The road to recovery will be long and bumpy,” said Stephen Brennock of broker PVM.