Investing.com - U.S. oil futures edged higher on Wednesday, amid speculation key U.S. weekly supply data due later in the day will show a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. oil supplies.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March traded in a range between USD97.41 a barrel and USD97.85 a barrel.
The March Nymex oil contract last traded at USD97.75 a barrel during European morning hours, up 0.55%.
WTI oil prices settled 0.79% higher on Tuesday to end at USD97.19 a barrel. Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD96.26 a barrel, the low from February 3 and resistance at USD98.37 a barrel, the high from January 31.
Wednesday’s government report was expected to show that crude oil stockpiles rose by 2.3 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories were forecast to increase by 1.5 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories rose by 380,000 barrels in the week ended January 31. The data also showed that gasoline stockpiles decreased by 1.2 million barrels.
Investors also looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
The U.S. is to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, which leads the government’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report by two days, while the ISM is to publish a report service sector activity.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for March delivery inched up 0.25% to trade at USD106.05 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD8.30 a barrel.
The spread between the two contracts narrowed to a four-month low as the Keystone XL pipeline linking Cushing, Oklahoma, to the U.S. Gulf Coast began making deliveries last month. Flows will rise over the course of the year toward its 700,000-barrel capacity, which should help alleviate a glut of crude in the Midwest.
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