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., Bloomberg 2/9/2009 12:06:55 PM

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.