Oil Edges Higher in Thursday Trade

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) spot-month oil futures edged higher Thursday morning, recouping premarket losses on the back of stock market gains while the U.S. dollar eased from a 10-day high posted during overnight trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index are shaking off wild swings seen a day earlier with the indices ending lower after minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee suggested policy makers were satisfied with the economic health of the United States and could raise interest rates. Equities trading reflects reassessment by investors of the FOMC minutes from their Jan. 30-31 meeting.

The market is also focused on the weekly oil report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that's expected to show mixed statistics for the week ended Feb. 16. EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report is due out at 11 a.m. ET, with the report delayed by a day due to Monday's observance of Presidents' Day holiday.

The report will also include crude production, which is expected to have increased again after oil services company Baker Hughes prior Friday reported the number of oil rigs rose last week by seven to a 798 near three-year high.

On Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported total crude stocks declined by about 900,000 barrel (bbl) during the week ended Feb. 16, while Cushing, Oklahoma, supply was drawn down by 2.6 million bbl.

API also showed a decline of 3.6 million bbl, more than an expected 750,000 bbl draw. Gasoline stockpiles increased by 1.47 million bbl, the data showed, while the market expected an increase of 500,000 bbl.

At last look, NYMEX April West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 26 cents at $61.94 bbl while ICE April Brent crude futures were 26 cents higher at $65.68 bbl. NYMEX March RBOB futures edged up 0.11 cents at $1.7584 gallon and March ULSD futures was 0.70 cents higher at $1.9393 gallon.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com

(BE)