NYMEX Oil Futures Lower Ahead of Data

NYMEX Oil Futures Lower Ahead of Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures moved lower this morning ahead of the release of a weekly rig-count report that will provide clues to whether domestic oil production is rising or easing.

The Baker Hughes rig-count report for the week-ended today will be released later this morning. Midweek federal report showed U.S. oil production was unchanged last week at 9.18 million bbl.

The oil futures complex also came under pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar. The greenback bounced off a four-day low, rising toward a seven-month high posted earlier this week after Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, said he's ready to do whatever it takes to jumpstart growth, leading analysts to speculate a new round of new stimulus measures will be launched.

At 9:00 AM ET, the NYMEX December WTI futures contract was down 39cts at $40.15 bbl ahead of its expiration this afternoon, with January contract down 12cts at $41.60 bbl. The ICE Brent contract for January added 12cts to $44.30 bbl after inside trade.

In products trade, December ULSD futures fell 0.43cts to $1.3675 gallon and December RBOB futures was little changed, easing 0.09cts to $1.2870 gallon.

Oil market concerns over terrorism that spiked earlier this week in the wake of the Paris attack last Friday have since faded, but trading remains choppy as market participants await the latest weekly data on U.S. oil rig-count.

Another attack this morning on a hotel in Mali didn't have a big impact on the oil market because there's no disruption to oil supply from North Africa.

The market is well supplied despite midweek data from the Energy Information Administration showing a smaller-than-expected 252,000 bbl build in crude oil stocks.

The RBOB futures contract has been the strongest segment of the oil complex this week because of fresh buying interest driven by holiday season demand. AAA said this year's Thanksgiving holiday next week will see the highest level of holiday travel in eight years.

The dollar now is clawing back to a seven-month high versus the euro as the U.S. Federal Reserve moves to tighten its monetary policy while the ECB and other global central banks are talking of additional stimulus measures.

Also, Fed officials have said the pace of the rate hike will be slow, which will limit the impact on market liquidity.