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Oil prices firmer despite US stockpile news

Oil prices firmed up midweek after slipping earlier in the day due to the news of an unexpectedly big stockpile of US crude.

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Oil futures were higher at the time of writing

Oil prices firmed up midweek after slipping earlier in the day due to the news of an unexpectedly big stockpile of US crude.

At the time of writing spot crude was up 1.39% but still over halve the value of a year ago at US$48.90 per barrel, while Brent  futures for November delivery were up 1.229% to US$48.83.

West Texas Intermediate futures, also for delivery next month, was up 0.855% to US$45.62.

The API - the American Petroleum Institute (API) revealed US crude stockpiles rose  by 4.6 million barrels last week - after analysts had forcecast an increase of just 100,000 barrels.

Oil traders are now awaiting weekly inventory stats from the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) due later today to see if it tallies with the API data.

Today's price rise comes after slipping prices over  worries over fuel demand in emerging markets earlier in the week and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cautioning that the world’s largest exporters of oil and other natural resources - nations like Saudi Arabia, Russia and Brazil – could suffer several painful years due to worse than expected impacts from the end of a China-driven commodity boom.

The IMF said: "The slowdown could even be larger than those experienced in past episodes.

It argued that it was because the ‘upswing’ in demand had been much larger than in the past too.

Notable movers -

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP), up 5.98% to 31p.

Shell (LON:RDSB), up 0.78% to 1,555p.

BP (LON:BP.), up 2.27% to 333.6p.

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