Crude up ahead of stockpiles report
LONDON, September 19, 2017 – Crude oil prices rose back toward the five-month highs seen last week on Tuesday, as investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products to weigh what the impact of recent storm activity was on supply and demand.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30PM ET (2030GMT).
Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock gain of around 2.9 million barrels, which would mark the third weekly increase in a row.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures tacked on 20 cents, or around 0.4%, to $50.55 a barrel by 3:17AM ET (0717GMT), not far from a five-month high of $50.88 touched last Thursday.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., was up 14 cents, or about 0.3%, to $55.62 a barrel. It traded as high as $55.99 intraday last Thursday, a level last seen since April 17.
Oil prices settled slightly lower on Monday, after posting a roughly 5% gain last week.
Market players looked ahead to a meeting Friday between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers regarding a possible extension of production caps.
OPEC and its allies are discussing extending by more than three months the oil production cuts that expire in March 2018, potentially prolonging them well into the second half of next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
OPEC and other producers, including Russia, have agreed to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until next March in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures were little changed at $1.667 a gallon, while natural gas futures held steady at a four-month peak of $3.147 per million British thermal units.
Traders said they were closely eying the path of Hurricane Maria, another top category Atlantic storm that hit the Caribbean islands on Tuesday, to see whether it would knock out refineries or disrupt shipping to and from the huge U.S. market.