Crude oil futures extended their losses on Thursday after notching up declines every day so far this week, hit by growing U.S. stockpiles and an expanding global glut.
U.S. crude had fallen 25 cents, or 0.54 percent, to $46.39 a barrel as of 0130 GMT, after settling the previous session down 2 cents at $46.64.
Front-month Brent for November delivery inched down 1 cent to $49.14 a barrel, having ended the last session down 9 cents at $49.15.
“(U.S. oil) remained under pressure as the focus turns to U.S. crude inventories. The sustained period of lower crude oil prices has started to impact the credit profile of companies,” ANZ said in a note on Thursday.
Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday showed that U.S. crude inventories rose by 9.4 million barrels in the week to Oct. 9 to 465.96 million, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 2.8 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.4 million barrels, API said.
But some analysts were optimistic on the long-term outlook for oil markets.
“(Our) base case price scenario results in Brent prices reaching $85 per barrel by 2020, around $20 higher than the current 2020 futures strip of about $65 per barrel,” Barclays said in a report.
“What happens to oil market balances after 2016 depends critically on three main wildcards: a slowing China’s impact on oil demand, the return of Iranian oil and the rate of mature field decline.”.
BMI Research, part of the Fitch ratings agency, said in a note that China’s crude oil imports would continue to grow over the next five years at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent.
“This will be a result of higher refinery run rates to produce gasoline and continued strategic stockpiling activity up to 2020, which will help to override macroeconomic headwinds to domestic crude demand,” it said.
Asian shares rose on Thursday and the dollar struggled near multi-week lows after weak U.S. economic data added to expectations that the Federal Reserve will delay hiking interest rates.