West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for delivery in February were 0.2% lower at $52.41 per barrel during Thursday’s pre-market trading session while Brent crude futures for delivery in the same month were down by 0.1% at $54.39 per barrel.
The pre-bell price declines come the morning after government data showed on Wednesday a surprise build in US stockpiles of crude oil and as the greenback advanced fractionally.
US stockpiles of crude oil rose by 2.3 million barrels to 485.4 million barrels in the week ended December 16, according to the Energy Information Administration, bucking a four-week run of declining stockpiles. The figures also contrasted with a projection made by the American Petroleum Institute for a 4.2 million barrel weekly decline.
The Dollar Index, which tracks the value of the US currency against a basket of foreign currencies, was 0.0097% higher at the time of writing. As a dollar-denominated commodity, a higher greenback tends to make oil less affordable for international buyers.