US oil prices dove on Tuesday on expectations of another increase in the nation's inventories on Wednesday, suggesting tepid demand in the world's biggest crude consumer.
NEW YORK - US oil prices dove on Tuesday on expectations of another increase in the nation's inventories on Wednesday, suggesting tepid demand in the world's biggest crude consumer.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, finished at $102.13 a barrel, falling $2.24 from Monday's close.
Brent North Sea crude for June settled at $109.27 a barrel, down 68 cents in London.
The New York market was under pressure as investors bet the Department of Energy's weekly report on US crude-oil supplies on Wednesday would show an increase of 2.4 million barrels, according to the consensus of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswire.
In the prior week ending April 11, crude supplies swelled to a record 394.1 million barrels, the highest level since the DoE began the weekly report in 1982.
Crude oil supplies jumped by 10 million barrels, much higher than the 1.5 million barrels expected.
"In light of what happened last week, it is a possibility the market is cautious," said Robert Yawger of Mizuho Securities USA. "We've never been to 400 million barrels. We could take out the record."
Yawger also noted there was some technical pressure on the WTI May futures contract on its last day of trade.
Investors continued to watch developments in the crisis over Ukraine, a major conduit for Russian natural gas to Western Europe.
"Worries over tensions between Ukraine and Russia and still-limited Libyan oil supplies remain background supports for the Brent market," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures.
Ukraine relaunched military operations against pro-Kremlin separatists late Tuesday, hours after US Vice President Joe Biden ended a two-day Kiev visit in which he warned Russia over its actions in the former Soviet republic.
"We have been clear that more provocative behavior by Russia will lead to more costs and to greater isolation," Biden said.
The US Defense Department announced it was sending 600 US troops to neighboring Poland and to Baltic countries for "exercises".
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