Oil prices fell today, extending the biggest falls this year as record US crude inventories kept sentiment weak, pointing to a global glut despite OPEC-led supply cuts.
Crude oil stocks in the US, the world's top oil consumer, surged last week to 528.4 million barrels, an all-time high and up 8.2 million barrels in a week, well above forecasts of a 2 million barrel build.
The surge in US inventories came despite an agreement by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.
Brent crude oil was down 50 cents a barrel at $52.61 this afternoon, after reaching an intraday low of $51.60, its lowest since December 1.
Brent fell $2.81 a barrel, or 5%, yesterday in its biggest daily price move this year.
US light crude reached an intraday low of $48.79, down $1.49, before recovering to trade around $49.70 a barrel. US crude had plummeted 5.4% yesterday.
Major oil exporters say they will gradually tighten global supplies as they reduce production.
Kuwait's oil minister has said OPEC's compliance with cuts has exceeded targets.
Kuwait will host a meeting on March 26 of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers to review compliance with the production cuts.
OPEC hopes it can persuade other oil producers to make deeper cuts to try to push up prices that have been below some breakeven costs for more than two years.
But they will need to act fast, because low oil prices encourage producers to increase output to balance their budgets.