Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday over an estimated increase in US oil inventories, reversing rises seen over five consecutive weeks.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $76.95 per barrel at 0656 GMT for a 1.78% fall after closing Tuesday at $78.35 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $73.95 per barrel at the same time for a 1.77% decrease after ending the previous session at $75.29 a barrel.
Oil prices have been on the rise since Aug. 16, after which Brent reached three-year-highs due to fears of supply disruptions and rising gas prices.
However, prices tumbled after the American Petroleum Institute (API) late Tuesday announced its estimate of a rise in US crude oil inventories.
According to the API, US oil stocks are expected to rise by over 4.12 million barrels relative to the market expectation of a 2.3 million-barrel fall.
If crude stocks increase in line with the API’s expectations, it signals that crude demand is falling in the US, the world's largest oil consumer, to negatively affect oil prices.
Meanwhile, fears of a debt-ceiling standoff in the US are mounting after Republicans in the Senate opposed a Democratic proposal to raise the debt ceiling, putting trade at risk and potentially threatening oil demand.
In hearings before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, both US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned that a default due to a failure to raise the debt ceiling would be devastating. On Thursday, the two will speak before the House Banking Committee.
By Sibel Morrow