Oil Steady Wednesday Morning

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures and the Brent contract on the Intercontinental Exchange are steady Wednesday morning, with West Texas Intermediate and Brent holding near fresh five-month highs ahead of weekly supply data from the Energy Information Administration.

In midmorning trading, WTI May contract moved $0.07 higher at $62.65 per barrel (bbl) after trading at a $62.99 fresh five-month high on the spot continuous chart, while ICE Brent June futures gained $0.15 to near $69.52, holding just below $70 bbl psychological resistance point with a $69.96 high. Nymex ULSD May contract firmed at $2.0092 gallon, while RBOB May futures moved 0.86 cents higher to $1.9371 gallon.

Wednesday morning investors remained focused on tightening global supplies aided by declining production from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with the prospect of new sanctions against Iran.

White House announced on Tuesday that three of the eight countries granted waivers by Washington to import Iranian oil have now reduced purchases to zero. U.S. special envoy to Iran added the Trump administration is not looking to grant any waivers or exceptions to the sanctions regime, citing improved market conditions, which would allow a further reduction in Iranian crude exports. EIA estimated Iranian oil exports have declined by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) since sanctions took effect, even as the United States granted waivers to eight Iranian oil buyers in the fourth quarter 2018.

Oil futures gains were capped Wednesday morning by a mixed report from American Petroleum Institute released Tuesday afternoon. API data showed U.S. commercial crude inventories increased 3 million bbl in the week ended March 29, missing an expected 750,000 bbl draw. Gasoline stockpiles tumbled 2.6 million bbl in the final week of the first quarter, above an expected draw of 1.5 million bbl, while distillate stocks fell 1.9 million bbl, nearly four times more than calls for a decline of 500,000 bbl.

EIA will publish its weekly supply figures 10:30 a.m. ET.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com

(CZ)