Investing.com - U.S. oil futures inched higher on Tuesday, as 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.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April held in a range between $100.87 a barrel and $101.43 a barrel.
Nymex oil last traded at $101.41 a barrel during European morning hours, up 0.29%, or $0.29 cents. The April contract lost 1.42%, or $1.46, on Monday to settle at $101.12 a barrel.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $100.13 a barrel, the low from March 6 and resistance at $102.91 a barrel, the high from March 7.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later in the day, while Wednesday’s government report could show crude stockpiles rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week ended March 7.
The data was also expected to show that distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 1.1 million barrels, while gasoline stockpiles were forecast to drop 2.2 million barrels.
Investors remained cautious after data released over the weekend showed that Chinese exports fell 18.1% on a year-over-year basis in February, confounding expectations for a 6.8% increase, following a rise of 10.6% in January.
The significant decline in China’s exports led to a deficit of $22.98 billion last month, compared to a surplus of $31.86 billion in January. Analysts had expected a surplus of $14.5 billion in February.
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 added 0.28%, or $0.30 cents, to trade at $108.38 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.97 a barrel.