Investing.com - Crude oil prices edged slightly higher in Asia on Thursday from a morning drop that followed overnight gains on better-than-expected reports on U.S. durable goods and oil inventories.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May traded at $100.32 a barrel, up 0.05%, after hitting an overnight session low of $99.11 a barrel and a high of $100.13 a barrel.
Prices for the global Brent oil futures contract rose four cents to settle at $107.03 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange on Wednesday.
Overnight, oil prices firmed after the Commerce Department reported that U.S. durable goods orders rose 2.2% in February, wiping out two months of declines and surpassing expectations for a 1.0% increase.
Core durable goods orders, which exclude transportation items, inched up 0.2%, slightly below forecasts for a 0.3% gain.
The numbers fueled expectations for a more sustained pickup in the U.S. economy, which should hike demand for more fuel and energy.
Weekly inventory data gave oil prices a boost as well.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 6.6 million barrels in the week ended March 21, above expectations for an increase of 2.8 million barrels.
The EIA also reported a 1.3 million barrel draw at a delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, which was larger expected and eclipsed the otherwise bearish 6.6 million-barrel build.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 382.5 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 5.1 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.2 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased by 1.6 million barrels, confounding expectations for a withdrawal of 1.4 million barrels.
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