Oil fell below $70 a barrel on Wednesday, pressured by weaker stock markets, as investors awaited a U.S. inventory report expected to show supplies declined in the world's top consumer.
European shares slid for a fourth day as some investors unwound trades that had bet on a speedy economic recovery. That added to pressure on oil coming from bearish U.S. American Petroleum Institute data late on Tuesday.
The stock market being down is a good reason for oil falling, said Christopher Bellew, a broker at Bache Commodities. Essentially, we are still in the same range between $69.50 and $72.50.
U.S. crude for July lost 67 cents to $69.80 a barrel by 1326 GMT (9:26 a.m. EDT), having earlier fallen as low as $69.28. Brent crude for August slipped 61 cents to $69.63.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases its weekly oil supply report at 1430 GMT (10:30 a.m. EDT).
Analysts polled by Reuters expect crude supplies to fall 1.7 million barrels and gasoline inventories to decline by 100,000 barrels. The API reported crude stocks fell 1.3 million barrels and gasoline rose by 2.1 million barrels.
Oil traders consider the EIA report to provide a more complete snapshot of supplies because companies are required to respond to its weekly survey.
Some support for oil came from a weak dollar earlier in the session, although the greenback later rose. A weaker dollar can boost investor demand for oil and commodities.
Oil hit a 2009 high above $73 last week, lifted by expectations of economic recovery that would increase fuel demand. Prices are still far below the record high above $147 reached last year.
President Barack Obama will unveil on Wednesday plans for sweeping reform of U.S. financial regulation, aimed at averting future crises such as the banking meltdown that has hit the global economy.
(Editing by Anthony Barker)