Oil prices steadied on Wednesday, following the previous day's slump, but the recovery was stunted by fears of a slow recovery in demand due to new pandemic lockdowns in Europe and a build in U.S. crude stocks.
Brent crude futures rose 8 cents, or 0.1%, to $60.87 a barrel by 0454 GMT, after tumbling 5.9% and hitting a low of $60.50 the previous day, as reported by Reuters.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 8 cents, or 0.1%, to $57.84 a barrel, having lost 6.2% and touched a low of $57.32 on Tuesday.
Read alsoNord Stream 2 may contribute to financing Russian aggression against Ukraine – PM ShmyhalBoth benchmarks touched their lowest levels since early February on Tuesday and have now fallen nearly 15% from their recent highs earlier this month.
The front-month spread for both Brent and WTI slipped into contango, where front-month contracts are lower than the later months, a sign that demand for prompt crude is declining.
Adding to pressure, U.S. crude oil stocks jumped by 2.9 million barrels in the week to March 19, against analysts' expectations in a Reuters' poll for a decline of about 300,000 barrels, according to trading sources citing data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute.
But gasoline stocks fell by 3.7 million barrels, compared with expectations for a build of 1.2 million barrels.