Investing.com - U.S. oil futures rose to a four-week high on Wednesday, as investors 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, U.S. crude oil for delivery in July advanced 0.57%, or 58 cents, to trade at $102.92 a barrel during European morning hours.
Nymex oil rose to a session high of $103.01 a barrel earlier, the most since April 22. U.S. oil futures picked up 0.22%, or 22 cents to settle at $102.33 a barrel on Tuesday.
New York-traded oil futures were likely to find support at $101.69 a barrel, the low from May 20 and resistance at $104.36 a barrel, the high from April 22.
Wednesday’s government report was expected to show that U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 750,000 barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, was expected to decrease by 300,000 barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories dropped by 10.3 million barrels in the week ended May 16, compared to expectations for a decline of 0.3 million barrels.
The report also showed that distillate stocks increased by 1.4 million barrels, while gasoline stockpiles rose by 135,000 barrels.
Meanwhile, market players looked ahead to the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve''s latest monetary policy meeting later in the day for insight on the central bank''s view of the economy.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for July delivery picked up 0.11%, or 12 cents, to trade at $109.81 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.89 a barrel.
Ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine remained in focus, amid concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.
Ukraine will hold presidential elections on May 25, and concerns persist that Russia will meddle in the voting and escalate the crisis. U.S. and European officials have already warned that Russia would face additional sanctions if Moscow disrupts the upcoming elections.
Russia produced 10.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2012 and exported 7.4 million, making it the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, renewed concerns over Libya''s oil output further supported prices, following some of the worst violence the country has seen since the 2011 war against Muammar Qaddafi.
Libya, an OPEC member, is home to Africa’s largest oil reserves, but production there has faltered in the three years following the topple of former leader Qaddafi due to political instability and attacks on oil assets.
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