U.S. oil futures edged higher on Wednesday, amid speculation weekly supply data due later in the day will show the sixth consecutive drop in U.S. oil inventories.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February traded at USD93.93 a barrel during European morning trade, up 0.3%. New York-traded oil futures held in a tight range between USD93.86 a barrel and USD94.18 a barrel.
The February contract ended 0.26% higher on Tuesday to settle at USD93.67 a barrel. Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD93.20 a barrel, the low from January 6 and resistance at USD94.59 a barrel, the high from January 6.
Wednesday’s report was expected to show that crude oil stockpiles fell by 0.9 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories were forecast to increase by 2.3 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels in the week ended January 3, compared to expectations for a decline of 3.3 million barrels. The data also showed that gasoline stockpiles increased by 5.6 million barrels, above expectations for a gain of 2 million barrels.
Investors turned their attention to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting later in the day for indications on the possible timing of further reductions in the central bank’s stimulus program.
Oil traders were also awaiting private sector job creation data from payroll processing firm ADP later in the day, for indications of the strength of the recovery in the labor market.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for February delivery inched up 0.25% to trade at USD107.61 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD13.68 a barrel.
London-traded Brent prices were underpinned amid linger worries over a disruption to supplies from Libya.
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