Oil fluctuated near $52 a barrel in New York amid signs that crude inventories fell again in the U.S., the world's biggest consumer.
Futures slipped 0.9 percent after settling 3.2 percent higher on Tuesday. U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 560,000 barrels last week, an industry report was said to show, a smaller decline than that forecast in a Bloomberg survey before government data due Wednesday. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said he was sure inventories will start to “return to normal averages and this will increase confidence” in the market.
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was at $51.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 47 cents, at 8:08 a.m. local time. Futures climbed $1.60 on Tuesday, rebounding from a 4 percent decline over the previous two sessions.
Brent for March settlement slipped 35 cents to $60.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after rising $1.65 on Tuesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $8.36 a barrel to WTI for the same month.