London / AFP
World oil prices slid on Thursday after rallying sharply the previous day following the first drop in US inventories for seven weeks.
Around 1700 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in May lost 96 cents to $36.79 per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for June delivery shed 93 cents to $38.91 a barrel compared with Wednesday’s closing level.
“A weak dollar and a US inventories draw saw oil prices jump on Wednesday but profit taking and a switch in focus back to the meeting in Doha this month has prompted a pull back,” said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler. Prices had rallied Wednesday on the weak dollar, and after the US government’s Energy Information Administraion (EIA) reported that commercial crude inventories fell 4.9 million barrels in the week ending April 1. That confounded market expectations for a gain of 2.85mn, signalling strong demand, and followed a 2.3mn-barrel increase the previous week.
The figures helped prices build on healthy gains that came on the back of comments from Kuwait that this month’s crucial producers’ meeting could yield an agreement to limit output, despite conflicting statements by participants.
The sharp drop in US crude reserves was, however, broadly in line with separate data by American Petroleum Institute (API).