Markets: Oil prices extend retreat

Oil prices extended their recent retreat, sinking towards the $62 a barrel level on Wednesday, as traders looked forward to the latest US weekly inventories data for an update on demand conditions in the world’s largest economy.

Base metals and soft commodities were mixed as nagging concerns about the global economy’s recovery prospects weighed on sentiment.

In energy markets, Nymex August West Texas Intermediate slipped 33 cents to $62.60 a barrel while ICE August Brent lost 23 cents at $63.00 a barrel.

US weekly inventories data, due out later in the session, were expected to show a fall of 2.4m barrels in US crude stocks last week, according to a poll of analysts by Reuters.

Gasloine stocks were forecast to have increased 600,000 barrels, rising for a fourth week in succession, while distillate stocks (including heating oil) were expected to have risen 2m barrels.

Nymex August RBOB unleaded gasoline traded just under 1.5 cents lower at $1.7182 a gallon while Nymex August heating oil slipped just over a cent to $1.5859 a gallon.

Weak profit margins were expected to limit US refineries demand for crude. Refinery utilisation was seen slipping 0.1 percentage points to 86.9 per cent.

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