Oil Futures Mixed Early Thursday

Oil Futures Mixed Early Thursday

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures moved mixed amid worries supply is running ahead of demand, with traders also mulling over the prospect of a hike in U.S. interest rates next month.

Minutes of last month's Federal Reserve meeting confirmed the central bank is ready to raise rates for the first time since 2006 by December with a strong economy and labor market.

U.S. jobless claims fell 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from the unrevised 276,000 level in the Nov. 7 week, the Labor Department said this morning.

At 9:00 AM ET, NYMEX December WTI futures were down 45cts at $40.30 bbl while ICE January Brent futures were unchanged, easing 2cts to $44.12 bbl.

In products trade, NYMEX December ULSD futures edged up 0.22cts to $1.3826 gallon while the December RBOB futures contract advanced 2.62cts to $1.2923 gallon.

On Wall Street, U.S. stock indices were mostly higher as the U.S. dollar fell to a three-day low after Fed officials said the pace of the expected interest rate hike would be slow enough to have any impact on investors' need for liquidity to trade. Investors also welcomed the Fed's economic outlook that it deems strong enough to handle a rate hike and sufficiently resilient to sustain the global slowdown.

The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported a smaller than expected rise in U.S. crude oil supply, while distillates supplies unexpectedly declined during the week-ended Nov. 13 amid a jump in weekly demand.

The EIA report showed crude stocks rose by 252,000 bbl, falling short of an expected 1.8 million bbl build, as implied demand rose 137,000 bpd. At the Cushing hub in Oklahoma however, crude stockpiles increased 1.5 million bbl, three times more than an expected 500,000 bbl build. U.S. crude production was unchanged at 9.18 million bpd.

The EIA report also showed a surprised build of 1.0 million bbl in gasoline stocks, and an unexpected distillates draw of 790,992 bbl. The distillate stock draw was linked to a 344,000 bpd surge in demand. Demand for gasoline was down 334,000 bpd.