Oil prices were down to begin Thursday with weekly U.S. crude inventories rising against the market expectation of a decline and with crude oil production in the country remaining at a record high level.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $70.31 per barrel at 0623 GMT with a 0.1% loss after closing Wednesday at $70.99 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $60.90 a barrel at the same time for a 0.7% decline after ending the previous session at $61.34 per barrel.
Commercial crude oil inventories in the U.S. increased by 4.7 million barrels, or 1%, to 476.8 million barrels for the week ending May 17, according to the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. The market expectation was a decrease of 600,000 million barrels.
The U.S.' crude oil production remained near a record high level of 12.2 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the EIA, which expects crude output in the country to average 12.45 million bpd this year.
The surprise increase in the U.S.' crude inventories and oil production at near record high levels put downward pressure on oil prices in the global market, analysts said.
By Ovunc Kutlu