U.S. crude recovered slightly on Tuesday after dropping below $90 after the U.S. weekly inventories report showed crude stockpiles grew 4.28 million barrels last week.
The U.S. Energy Department reported crude inventories surged 4.28 million barrels to 287.1 million in the week ended last Friday. It is the biggest drop since Hurricane Katrina affected oil refineries back in September 2005. The results were unexpected since according to a Bloomberg survey, analysts were predicting a growth of 1.25 million barrels.
Crude oil for February fell $1.79, or 1.95 percent to $90.11 at 12:53 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude declined $2.01 or 2.21 percent to $88.85 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stockpiles of distillates which include heating oil and diesel fuel gained 1.1 million barrels. Gasoline inventories rose by 2.2 million barrels. According to the report, this is the first increase in nine weeks. Refineries were operating at 87.1 percent of their total capacity, compared to a 91.3 percent the week before.
Fears over the world economy and oil supply have kept the pressure on oil prices.
Yesterday, crude oil dropped more than $2 a barrel after a U.S. report showed that U.S. retail sales declined 0.4 percent in the month of December.
On Tuesday, President Bush called on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase oil supply to which the Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi replied that oil output could increase if justified. OPEC will meet on Feb. 1 to decide on world oil supplies.