Investing.com - U.S. oil futures traded at a four-week high on Wednesday, after a U.S. government report showed that oil supplies fell more than expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in July advanced 0.95%, or 98 cents, to trade at $103.31 a barrel during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at $103.36 a barrel prior to the release of the supply data.
Nymex oil rose to a session high of $103.44 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.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 7.2 million barrels in the week ended May 16, compared to expectations for an increase of 750,000 barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 391.3 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a gain of 0.1 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 3.4 million barrels, compared to expectations for a drop of 0.4 million 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 0.27%, or 29 cents, to trade at $109.99 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.68 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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