Oil Mixed in Wednesday Trade

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) spot-month oil futures were mixed Wednesday morning ahead of weekly oil supply statistics from the U.S. Energy Information (EIA) that's expected to show weekly stock builds for crude oil and gasoline supplies.

The EIA's data due out 10:30 a.m. ET follows a mixed report issued Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showing crude stockpiles rose in the week ended Feb. 23 by a less-than-expected 933,000 barrel (bbl) and gasoline supplies rose by a more-than-expected 1.9 million bbl.

In contrast, middle distillate fuel inventories were drawn down by a less-than-expected 1.4 million bbl, the API reported, and refinery runs fell 1.3% to 88.0% of operable capacity. The drop in runs comes as refiners conduct seasonal maintenance.

A DTN survey showed the market expecents the EIA statistics to show a crude stock build of 3.75 million bbl, a gasoline stock build of 1.75 million bbl and a distillate supply draw down of 1.75 million bbl.

Oil traders are also keeping an eye on the financial market, with equities opening slightly higher after Tuesday's sell-off. The dollar index climbed overnight to a five-week high after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted on Tuesday at a faster pace of monetary tightening.

Powell said the Fed is likely to raise interest rates three or four times this year, as the Fed works to fight inflation. The comment was viewed as hawkish on policy.

In early trade, NYMEX April West Texas Intermediate crude futures were 18cents higher at $63.19 bbl, reversing up after trading lower overnight. Intercontinental Exchange April Brent crude futures contract was little changed, up 2 cents to $66.65 bbl while May Brent futures were up 8 cents at $66.60 bbl.

NYMEX March RBOB futures slipped fractionally to $1.7991 gallon and the April contract was down 57 cents at a $1.9786 gallon. March ULSD futures contract was near flat at $1.9622 gallon while the April contract eased 29 cents to $1.9658 gallon.

The April Brent crude contract on ICE and the NYMEX March ULSD and RBOB futures contracts expire Wednesday afternoon.

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