New York's main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, fell 16 cents to USD 99.63 per barrel. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January was down two cents to USD 110.80.
Forecasts issued by the American Petroleum Institute last night of an unexpected spike in US crude inventories placed a wet blanket over ebullient prices, Phillip Futures said in a report. "Crude oil stockpiles in the United States rose 3.4 million barrels last week. This was in sharp contrast to the estimation of... declining stocks of 200,000 barrels," it said.
Crude markets had rallied overnight after geopolitical tensions were stoked by Iranian protesters who stormed Britain's embassy and another diplomatic compound in Tehran yesterday.
The move sparked international alarm just as Western powers were ratcheting up sanctions against the country for allegedly seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
The oil market won further support from rebounding US consumer confidence in November, with a key survey showing a recovery from the lowest levels seen in more than two years.