Investing.com - U.S. oil futures were higher on Tuesday, as investors continued to monitor developments in Ukraine and ahead of weekly supply data out of the U.S. due later in the day.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May rose to a session high of $98.70 a barrel.
WTI oil last traded at $98.49 a barrel during U.S. morning hours, up 0.91%, or 89 cents. The May contract lost 0.95%, or 94 cents, to settle at $97.62 a barrel on Monday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $97.00 a barrel, the low from March 17 and resistance at $98.95 a barrel, the high from March 14.
CNN reported that Vladislav Seleznyov, Ukraine''s defense ministry spokesman said at least one Ukrainian officer had been injured in an assault on a base by "armed people in masks" near the Crimean capital of Simferopol.
Earlier Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia isn''t seeking "a partition of Ukraine", signaling that Russia''s moves in Ukraine would be limited.
The comments came during a speech to a joint session of parliament in Moscow, a day after the president recognized the results of Sunday''s referendum in Crimea, which saw a majority of voters chose to split from Ukraine.
The European Union and the U.S. have declared the vote illegal and imposed sanctions.
Meanwhile, investors looked ahead to weekly supply data out of the U.S. to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later in the day, while Wednesday’s government report could show crude stockpiles rose by 2.8 million barrels in the week ended March 14.
The report was also expected to show that distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 0.3 million barrels, while gasoline stockpiles were forecast to drop 1.3 million barrels.
Data released earlier in the day showed that the number of building permits issued in the U.S. rose to a four-month high in February, rebounding after a sharp drop in January.
The number of building permits issued last month jumped 7.7% to 1.018 million units following a 16.8% fall in in January, as a result of severe winter weather.
But, U.S. housing starts fell 0.2% last month to hit a seasonally adjusted 907,000 units, disappointing expectations for an increase of 3.4% to 910,000 units.
Investors began to turn their attention to the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday amid expectations for a reduction in its bond buying program to $55 billion from the current $65 billion.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for May delivery added 0.32%, or 34 cents, to trade at $106.58 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $8.09 a barrel.
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