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Oil Futures Settle Lower As Demand Concerns Weigh

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Thursday after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

Despite the massive nearly $2 trillion U.S. fiscal stimulus, and expectations for further stimulus from the Joe Biden administration, crude oil prices edged down on persisting worries about the outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases and more and more places across the world going into the lockdown.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $0.18 or about 0.3% at $53.13 a barrel.

The American Petroleum Institute report showed an unexpected 2.6 million-barrel build in U.S. commercial crude inventories in the week ended January 15, contrary to predictions for a fall of 1.2 million barrels.

However, gasoline stocks and distillate inventories, which include diesel, distillate and jet fuel, rose by less than analysts had expected..

The weekly inventory data from U.S. Energy Information Administration will be out on Friday, two days later than usual due to holiday on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

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