Investing.com - A bearish U.S. weekly inventory report, soft retail sales figures and waning concerns that conflicts in Ukraine and in the Mideast will crimp global supplies sent crude prices falling on Wednesday.
In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in September traded down 0.07% at $97.30 a barrel during U.S. trading. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $96.76 a barrel and a high of $97.64 a barrel.
The September contract settled down 0.72% at $97.37 a barrel on Tuesday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $96.55 a barrel, last Thursday's low, and resistance at $98.58 a barrel, Monday's high.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 8, confounding expectations for a decline of 2.0 million barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 367.0 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.1 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell by 2.4 million barrels, defying market calls for a build of 214,000 barrels.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales were little changed last month, disappointing expectations for a 0.2% increase.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, eased up by a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July, below forecasts for a 0.4% increase.
Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government's gross domestic product report. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.
Geopolitical factors pushed down prices as well.
Despite ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq, oil continues to flow as normal at a time when global supplies are on the rise.
Russia recently wrapped up military exercises on its border with Ukraine, while the U.S. has launched airstrikes to quell a Sunni insurgency, which remains to the north of the nation's major oilfields.
Separately, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for October delivery were up 0.51% and trading at US$104.42 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.12 a barrel.
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