Oil markets have seesawed since the beginning of the week, torn between data that points towards a bottoming out of prices following an over 50 percent fall over the last year and bearish analysts who see more price falls as oversupply lingers on.
Crude oil prices fell on Tuesday as traders took profit following a 4 percent bounce in the previous session as conflicting market signals tore at prices.
Traders also focused on the soon-to-expire front-month contract in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which serves as the U.S. benchmark. WTI’s October contract will go off the NYMEX board after Tuesday’s settlement, and November will move up as the front-month.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at $46.20 per barrel at 2100 EDT, down 48 cents, or one percent, from their last settlement. Globally traded Brent futures were at $48.47 per barrel, down 45 cents.
The dip in prices came after oil rallied on Monday, with U.S crude surging more than 4 percent on signs of declining stockpiles and a fall in drilling activity, which implies lower future oil production.
A Reuters poll on Monday forecast that U.S. crude inventories as a whole fell by 2.1 million barrels last week.