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Oil prices resumed their slide on Wednesday, dragged down after an unexpected gain in U.S. inventories, but with losses capped by a recovery in global equities on hopes of a rate cut from the Federal Reserve.
Brent futures were down 56 cents at $61.41 a barrel by 1353 GMT, having briefly traded in positive territory earlier in the session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 78 cents at $52.70 a barrel.
U.S. crude inventories rose unexpectedly last week, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles built more than expected, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
Crude stocks rose by 3.5 million barrels in the week to May 31 to 478 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 849,000 barrels.
Official numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later on Wednesday.
“The stock build does not help sentiment in the current market environment,” ING bank said.
Oil prices have fallen sharply on concerns about slowing demand, but won some respite on Tuesday after a global stock market rally on hopes the Fed may trim interest rates. Equities extended gains on Wednesday.
“Yesterday's upswing on the back of rising stock markets was halted by an unexpectedly sharp rise in U.S. crude oil and product stocks,” Commerzbank said.
The oil market has been weighed down by concerns about slowing global growth due to the U.S.-China trade war and President Donald Trump's threats last week to place tariffs on Mexican imports.
To prevent oversupply and prop up the market, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, together with allies including Russia, has withheld some production since the start of the year.
The group will set its policy when it meets later this month or in early July.
Underlining concerns about oversupply, the head of oil giant Rosneft Igor Sechin said on Tuesday that Russia should pump at will and that he would seek compensation from the government if cuts were extended.
A Gazpromneft official said Russian oil companies are ready to boost output if the supply cuts are eased.
Russia's average oil output was 10.87 million barrels per day (bpd) on June 1-3, down from an average of 11.11 million bpd in May, two sources familiar with official data said.
The decline follows the discovery in mid-April of contaminated Urals crude in the Druzhba pipeline to Europe.
Further pressuring oil prices and undermining OPEC's efforts to tighten the market has been a surge in U.S. output to record highs, leading to more American crude being exported.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO; Editing by Dale Hudson, Jan Harvey, Kirsten Donovan and Deepa Babington)