Oil wavers ahead of US data

LONDON, February 21, 2018 – Crude oil prices remained lower on Wednesday, weighed by U.S. dollar strength and amid growing caution ahead of this week’s U.S. supply data.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was down 35 cents or about 0.55% at $61.45 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT).

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London fell 14 cents or about 0.21% to $65.11 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil futures were boosted on Tuesday as a result of reduced flows from Canada’s Keystone pipeline, which has been operating below capacity since late last year due to a leak.

Oil prices were also supported this week by potential supply disruptions in the Middle East after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, following border incidents in Syria.

 

However, traders became more cautious ahead of this week’s U.S. inventories reports. The American Petroleum Institute was set to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies later Wednesday, while official data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration was expected on Thursday.

The reports come out one day later than usual due to Monday’s President’s Day holiday.

Fears that rising U.S. output could dampen global efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have systematically limited oil prices’ gains recently.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures rose 0.20% to $1.749 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 1.95% to $2.667 per million British thermal units.

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