Investing.com - West Texas Intermediate oil futures were lower on Tuesday, albeit off the worse levels of the session as market players awaited key U.S. weekly supply data to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in August fell to a session low of $105.47 a barrel, the weakest since June 12, before trimming losses to last trade at $106.22 during U.S. morning hours, down 0.08%, or 9 cents.
U.S. oil futures ended down 0.01%, or 1 cent, on Monday to settle at $106.90. New York-traded oil futures were likely to find support at $103.59 a barrel, the low from June 12 and resistance at $107.54 a barrel, the high from June 16.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later in the day, while Wednesday’s government report could show crude stockpiles rose by 0.3 million barrels in the week ended June 13.
Investors also looked ahead to the outcome of the upcoming Federal Reserve policy meeting on Wednesday, as they await fresh indications on the timing of possible interest rates increases.
Data released earlier showed that the number of building permits issued last month fell by 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted 991,000 units from April’s total of 1.059 million. Analysts expected building permits to decline by 0.1% to 1.05 million units in May.
The report also showed that U.S. housing starts dropped by 6.5% last month to hit a seasonally adjusted 1.001 million units from April’s total of 1.071 million, disappointing expectations for a decline of 3.7% to 1.034 million units.
A separate report showed that consumer prices rose by as a seasonally adjusted 0.4% last month, above forecasts for a 0.2% gain. Year-over-year, consumer prices rose at an annualized rate of 2.1% in May, above expectations for 2% and up from 2% in April.
Consumer prices, excluding food and energy costs, inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% last month, compared to expectations for 0.2%. Core consumer prices rose 0.2% in April.
Core CPI increased at annualized rate of 2% in May, up from 1.8% in April and above expectations for 1.9%.
Meanwhile, markets players continued to monitor developments in Iraq, where the conflict between Sunni Islamist insurgents and Iraqi army forces continued on Monday.
Fears over an imminent to disruption to supplies from the country lifted oil prices to nine-month highs earlier in the week. Prices have since pulled back amid expectations Iraq’s main oil-producing areas in the south will remain insulated from the sectarian violence sweeping the north.
Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery eased up 0.12%, or 14 cents, to trade at $113.08 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.86 a barrel.
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