Oil steady ahead of US data

LONDON, October 25, 2017 – Crude oil prices were largely steady on Wednesday, hovering near their recent highs, as investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report at 10:30AM ET (1430GMT).

After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories rose by 519,000 barrels in the week ended October 22. That compared with analysts’ expectations for a decline of 2.5 million barrels.

However, the API report also showed a sharp drop of 5.8 million barrels in gasoline stocks, while distillate stocks fell by 4.9 million barrels.

There are often sharp divergences between the API estimates and the official figures from EIA.

 

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures was down 8 cents, or around 0.2%, at $52.39 a barrel by 3:25AM ET (0725GMT), after gaining 57 cents, or 1.1%, a day earlier.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., was up 16 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.49 a barrel, after settling up 96 cents, or 1.7%, in the last session.

Oil prices climbed on Tuesday, as Saudi Arabia reiterated a pledge to help balance the global crude market and geopolitical turmoil threatened global inventories.

They received another boost amid expectations that major global producers will extend a deal to curb production beyond its current expiry date next March.

The original deal, struck nearly a year ago between OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia, was to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

In other energy trading Wednesday, gasoline futures dipped 0.4 cents to $1.727 a gallon, heating oil added 0.9 cents to $1.831 a gallon, while natural gas futures rose 1.0 cent at $2.984 per million British thermal units.

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