Oil prices experienced a decline on Thursday, extending losses from the previous session due to signals of increased supply from the United States, coupled with concerns about subdued energy demand from China.
Brent futures slid 72 cents to $80.46 a barrel by 0400 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) dropped 67 cents to $75.99 a barrel. Both benchmarks had fallen more than 1.5% in the prior session.
Adding to the downward pressure on oil prices, US crude stocks unexpectedly rose by 3.6 million barrels last week, reaching 421.9 million barrels, as reported by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
This surge exceeded analysts' expectations, who had predicted a 1.8 million-barrel increase. Notably, US crude production remained at a record 13.2 million barrels per day (bpd).
In Asia, China's oil refinery throughput eased in October, reflecting weakened industrial fuel demand and narrower refining margins.
Despite this, China's economic activity showed signs of improvement in October, with accelerated industrial output and retail sales growth surpassing expectations.
However, concerns persist about China's property sector, as new home prices declined for the fourth consecutive month in October, and property sales by floor area dropped by 20.33% year-on-year, according to data released on Thursday morning.
Technical factors also played a role in restricting upward movements in oil prices, with Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, highlighting that the tightening oil supply-demand dynamics observed in previous months have diminished.
Consequently, there has been a reversal in bullish positioning, with prices falling below their 200-day moving average—a signal that sellers are currently in control.