On Thursday, oil prices marginally increased in light Asian trading, breaking a six-day losing run fueled by growing worries that more aggressive interest rate increases by central banks will stifle economic development and fuel demand.
A barrel of Brent crude futures increased by 2 cents to $80.62. WTI crude futures increased by 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $74.04 a barrel. According to the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve in the United States, the majority of Fed officials concurred that raising interest rates would need to continue until excessive inflation was under control.
Further indications of a buildup in crude stockpiles have also put pressure on oil. American Petroleum Institute data cited on Wednesday by market sources indicated that U.S. crude oil and gasoline stockpiles increased by 9.9 million barrels last week.
Since mid-December, the increase in U.S. oil stockpiles has occurred every week, fueling market concerns about demand. The increase in crude stockpiles last week was predicted by a Reuters poll to be 2.1 million barrels. Thursday is the deadline for official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.