Investing.com - Crude prices eased in Asia on Wednesday on expectations for an eleventh straight weekly increase in U.S. domestic crude stockpiles after industry data reported bearish figures.
Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group said crude stockpiles fell by 5.8 million barrels last week, including a 1.5 million decline at the Cushing delivery point.
API said gasoline stocks rose by 180,000 barrels, distillate stocks--such as heating oil--fell 170,000 barrels, and refinery runs increased to 87.5% of capacity.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to report a 1.086 million barrels gain in crude stockpiles for the week ended March 28.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil for delivery in May traded at $99.58 a barrel, down 0.17%, after hitting an overnight session low of $99.89 a barrel and a high of $101.56 a barrel.
Prices for the global Brent Oil oil benchmark fell $2.14, or 2%, to $105.62 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange Tuesday, a new low for the year.
Supporting crude however, factories in the western world are continuing to expand these days though at a slower clip than markets were anticipating, according to data released earlier.
In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management reported earlier that its manufacturing purchasing managers'' index rose to 53.7 in March from 53.2 in February, missing market expectations for a 54.0 reading.
The report showed that employment growth slowed, with the employment index falling to 51.1 from 52.3, the lowest level since June 2013.
Meanwhile in Europe, Markit Economics reported that the euro zone''s purchasing managers'' index came in at 50.3 in March, unchanged from February and in line with expectations.
However, average input costs declined for the second straight month and output prices also dipped, adding to pressure on the European Central Bank to implement fresh policy measures to stave off the threat of deflation in the region.
In the U.K., the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to an eight-month low of 55.3 last month from a downwardly revised 56.2 in February. Analysts had expected the manufacturing index to tick up to 56.7.
Any reading above 50 signifies expansion.
Prices were already on the decline after data on China''s manufacturing sector painted a mixed picture of the world''s second largest economy.
China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index ticked down to an 18-month low of 48.0 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February.
The report came after China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index inched up to 50.3 in March from 50.2 in February.
China is the world''s second largest oil consumer and manufacturing numbers are used as indicators for fuel demand growth.
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