TOKYO Crude futures fell in early Asian trade on Wednesday after Kuwaiti oil workers ended a three-day strike that had cut production from the Middle Eastern country and data showed U.S. stockpiles rose last week.
Brent crude futures, were down 55 cents at 43.48 a barrel at 0030 GMT. On Tuesday, they settled up $1.12, or 2.6 percent, at $44.03 a barrel.
U.S. crude was down 66 cents at $40.36. The contract rose $1.30, or 3.3 percent, to $41.08, the previous session.
Kuwaiti oil and gas workers ended a three-day strike that had temporarily cut the OPEC member's crude production by nearly half, the trade union said in a statement posted on its Twitter account on Tuesday.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) was forced to cut output to as little as 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), down from a normal level of about 3 million bpd. By Tuesday output had recovered to around 1.5 million bpd.
The end of the strike revived the bearish mood brought on by the failure of major producers to reach an agreement on Sunday on a production freeze, to help overcome a market imbalance that has caused a slump in prices since 2014.
Adding to the bearish tone, data from industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) also showed U.S. crude stocks rose more than was anticipated, last week.
Crude inventories rose by 3.1 million barrels in the week to April 15 to 539.5 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a rise of 2.4 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 235,000 barrels, API said.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Michael Perry)
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Updated Date: Apr 20, 2016 07:30 AM