Oil futures moved higher Wednesday, finding support as traders awaited U.S. government inventories data after an industry trade group showed another sharp rise in American crude stocks but big drawdowns in inventories of petroleum products.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery rose 49 cents, or 0.8%, to $64.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude the global benchmark, was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $67.88 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 12.8 million barrels for the week ended March 5, according to sources. The data also reportedly showed gasoline stockpiles down by 8.5 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 4.8 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub, meanwhile, edged up by 295,000 barrels for the week, sources said.
“This data is still reflecting the aftermath of the big freeze that we saw across the U.S. Gulf in February, with refiners taking longer to get back up and running,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note. “We would expect to see a similar trend in [Energy Information Administration] numbers today, with fairly large crude builds, and large product draws.”
More closely followed inventory data from the U.S. EIA is due Wednesday morning. On average, the EIA is expected to show crude inventories up by 2.7 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. The survey also shows expectations for inventory declines of 4.8 million barrels for gasoline and 3.8 million barrels for distillates.