Investing.com - U.S. oil futures fell to a five-week low on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to key U.S. weekly supply data due later in the day to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April dropped to a session low of $98.78 a barrel, the weakest level since February 7.
Nymex oil last traded at $98.86 a barrel during European morning hours, down 1.16%, or $1.17. The April contract lost 1.08%, or $1.09, on Tuesday to settle at $100.03 a barrel.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $97.14 a barrel, the low from February 7 and resistance at $101.52 a barrel, the high from March 11.
Wednesday’s government report was expected to show that crude oil stockpiles rose by 2.2 million barrels last week. The data was also expected to show that distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 0.9 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended March 7, compared to expectations for an increase of 2.3 million barrels.
The report also showed that distillate stocks fell by 839,000 barrels, while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 2.15 million barrels.
Investors remained cautious as growing concerns over the health of China’s economy dampened demand for growth-linked assets.
The Asian nation is the world''s second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery declined 0.68%, or $0.74 cents, to trade at $107.81 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $8.95 a barrel.
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