Oil drops as industry data show United States gasoline stockpiles grew

US crude stockpiles probably declined by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report scheduled to be released on Wednesday. Traders have been at odds over frequent discrepancies between the API, which is also the oil and gas industry's main lobby, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent division of the Energy Department.

This week's unexpectedly large build in gasoline inventories is likely to put downward pressure on oil prices. USA output is "likely to have increased further, possibly reaching 9.7 million barrels per day for the time on a weekly data basis", the analysts wrote in a note Wednesday.

Meanwhile, those of crude oil shrank by 5.6m barrels to reach 448.1m barrels while stockpiles of distillates increased by 1.7m barrels.

USA gasoline demand fell by 871,000 bpd (barrels per day) or 9% to 8,724,000 bpd on November 17-24, according to the EIA. Inventories at Cushing probably slid by 2.4 million barrels, a separate forecast compiled by Bloomberg showed. Total volume traded was about 42 percent below the 100-day average.

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Distillate inventories, too, saw a build this week, up 4.259 million barrels, against a forecast of a 548,000-barrel build.

Last week's announcement from OPEC and its allies that production cuts would continue through to the end of 2018 had already been priced into crude.

Analysts said a weak trend in global markets, where oil prices dropped, mainly led to fall in crude prices at futures trade here.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up less than 0.1%, at $82.90 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22. As of last night's close, Chevron shares are trading up about 6.4% over the past 12 months.

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