Crude oil retreated on Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed energy inventory increased more than market had expected.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell 1.02 U.S. dollars to settle at 48.14 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The U.S. Energy Department Energy Information Agency reported on Wednesday that crude stockpiles rose 1.94 million barrels for the week ended March 13, which has sent U.S. crude inventory to the highest level since June 29, 2007.
Meanwhile, gasoline stocks surged by 3.2 million barrels, against analysts' expectation of a 2.1-million-barrel drop.
Oil prices have gained support from the rally in the stock market recently, but many analysts do not think the price will go beyond the 50-dollar resistance level. Energy demand would remain weak with economic conditions still deteriorating and jobless rate rising.
In London, Brent crude for May delivery fell 49 cents to 47.75 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2009)