Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oil futures edge up ahead of U.S. inventory data

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Oil futures on Tuesday inched higher, paring Monday's losses, with investors awaiting weekly data on U.S. crude supplies expected to show a drop in inventories.

Crude oil for January delivery (CLF4)   rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $97.43 a barrel in electronic trading.

Oil prices on Monday settled down by 0.3% on the New York Mercantile Exchange for their first loss in seven sessions after Federal Reserve officials said the central bank could begin tapering down its stimulus program at its meeting next week.

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Oil prices rose 5.3% last week for their best performance since July, according to FactSet data tracking the most-active contracts.

The American Petroleum Institute was due to release its weekly oil inventory report Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, followed on Wednesday by the more closely watched U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly data.

U.S. commercial crude oil stocks are expected to have fallen for the second consecutive week, with a draw of 2.8 million barrels during the week ended Dec. 6, a according to a Platts survey of oil analysts.

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The previous week, the EIA report showed a larger-than-expected 5.6-million-barrel drop for the week ended Nov. 29, the first decrease in 11 weeks.

In other trading Tuesday, Brent crude for January delivery (UK:LCOF4)   edged up 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $109.44 a barrel.

January natural gas (NGF14)  added 0.1% to $4.14 million British thermal units. January gasoline (RBF4)  increased slightly to $2.68 a gallon, and January heating oil (HOF4)   was up 0.1% at $3.02 a gallon.

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