Markets: Oil prices dip

Oil prices dipped after choppy trading in the previous session.

Nymex September West Texas Intermediate eased 38 cents to $71.59 a barrel while ICE September Brent hit $76.00 a barrel, a fresh 2009 high, before easing back to trade 34 cents lower at $75.17.

US inventories data released in the previous session showed a larger than expected increase in crude stocks, up 1.7m barrels and above the consensus forecast for an increase of 800,000 barrels.

Crude imports fell 737,000 b/d to 9.29m b/d last week, retreating after a surge in the previous week above the 10m b/d mark.

However, crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI rose 1.2m barrels to 33.3m barrels. Storage capacity has been expanded at Cushing with additional new tanks taking capacity from 47.5m barrels in March towards 50m barrels, according to the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Some hedge funds have been storing crude oil in offshore tankers, paying storage charges in the hope of taking advantage of higher prices in future. Traders said that some of the oil held offshore could be moving into Cushing where storage charges were cheaper.

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