Investing.com - U.S. oil futures inched higher on Wednesday, as market players awaited the release of weekly supply data out of the U.S. later in the session to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May held in a range between $99.11 a barrel and $99.53 a barrel.
Nymex oil last traded at $99.27 a barrel during European morning hours, up 0.08%, or 7 cents.
The May contract shed 0.41%, or 41 cents, on Tuesday to settle at $99.19 a barrel. Futures were likely to find support at $98.25 a barrel, the low from March 21 and resistance at $100.29 a barrel, the high from March 24.
Wednesday’s government report was expected to show that crude oil stockpiles rose by 2.7 million barrels last week. The data was also expected to show that distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 1.4 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories rose by 6.28 million barrels in the week ended March 21, compared to expectations for an increase of 2.6 million barrels.
The report also showed that distillate stocks increased by 267,000 barrels, while gasoline stockpiles declined by 2.84 million barrels.
Investors also looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
The U.S. is to release data on durable goods orders later in the session.
Data on Tuesday showed that U.S. consumer confidence improved more than expected in March. However, a separate report said that new home sales fell by the most in five months in February, indicating continued weakness in the housing sector.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for May delivery eased up 0.2%, or 21 cents, to trade at $107.21 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $7.94 a barrel.