Crude Oil Declines

Crude oil fell on speculation that U.S. stockpiles increased for the 18th time in 20 weeks as the recession curbs demand.

Inventories climbed 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the median of seven analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. U.S. fuel use has declined the past year as the economy of the world’s biggest energy-consuming country contracted.

Crude oil for March delivery fell 55 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $39.62 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil is down 11 percent this year and 57 percent from a year ago.

Brent crude oil for March settlement declined 18 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $46.03 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. Brent futures traded at a $6.41 premium over West Texas Intermediate, the grade that’s traded in New York.

The Energy Department is scheduled to release its weekly report on Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

Crude oil futures traded between $38.60 and $42.68 in New York last week and fell 2.4 percent to $40.17 a barrel on Feb. 6 after a report showed U.S. unemployment reached its highest since at least 1992., Bloomberg
2/9/2009 12:06:55 PM