Oil little changed as demand worries spur caution

Oil prices were little changed on Wednesday as traders remained cautious after a surprise rise in U.S. crude inventories stoked demand concerns on the heels of weaker-than-expected economic data from the United States and China, News.Az reports citing Reuters. 

Brent crude futures slipped 3 cents to $74.88 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude edged down 2 cents to $70.84 as of 0222 GMT.

"Crude prices remain heavy as energy traders just can't shake off global demand concerns. It doesn't matter how upbeat everyone is for China's second half of the year, the current situation is too disappointing," said Edward Moya, an analyst at OANDA.

U.S. crude stockpiles rose by about 3.6 million barrels in the week ended May 12, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures. Seven analysts polled by Reuters, had expected a 900,000 barrel drawdown.

U.S. government data on crude and product stockpiles is due at 1430 GMT.

The crude inventory build added to concerns about U.S. growth after data showed retail sales rose 0.4% in April, short of estimates for an increase of 0.8%.

Talks on raising the U.S. debt ceiling continue to weigh on the market. The U.S. Treasury Department has estimated that the United States will go into a crippling default as early as June 1 if Congress does not lift the debt ceiling.


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