(Reuters) - Brent crude slipped towards $112 on Wednesday, maintaining its downtrend for a sixth session, as political uncertainty in the debt-laden euro zone and rising oil stocks in the United States revived worries about fuel demand.
Brent on Tuesday posted its largest five-day fall since October as Greece struggled to form a government two days after elections, raising the risk that a hard-won bailout could be nullified and the euro zone crisis could re-emerged.
Investors are looking ahead to U.S. government data to be released later on Wednesday to confirm industry statistics that showed a larger-than-expected rise in crude inventories, already at their highest level since 1990.
Brent crude fell 46 cents to $112.27 a barrel by 23:22 p.m. EDT (0322 GMT) after settling at $112.73 on Tuesday, the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since February 2.
U.S. crude was at $96.63, down 38 cents.
The market became overly bearish very quickly and the momentum was a result of what happened in Europe, said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of BarrattBulletin, a Sydney-based commodity research firm.
People are becoming too pessimistic about how they are going to resolve it and this sentiment will continue to be bearish for commodities.
Leadership changes in France and Greece fanned worries that the political uncertainty could threaten austerity plans seen as key to tackling the euro zone debt crisis.
Greece sank deeper into crisis when the leftist candidate for prime minister set conditions for a new coalition, demanding that pledges made in exchange for a European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout be torn up, which the biggest party said would destroy the country.
U.S. CRUDE STOCKS UP
Higher OPEC production and rising crude stockpiles globally also weighed on oil prices.
In the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, domestic crude stocks jumped 7.8 million barrels in the week to May 4, according to industry group American Petroleum Institute. This is nearly four times the forecast for a 2.0 million increase in a Reuters poll of analysts.
The total crude stocks already sit about 3 percent below all time highs, so another build over 1.2 million barrels will likely be particularly bearish for prices, ANZ analysts said in a note.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi reiterated on Wednesday that there is a surplus of oil in the market, following his earlier comments that the world's top exporter is pumping around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and is storing 80 million barrels to meet any sudden disruption in supplies.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)