Oil prices edged higher Monday in advance of this week’s U.S. government report on American crude stockpiles after and unexpected drop in inventories last week.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 10 cents to finish at US$93.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international varieties, climbed nine cents to end at US$111.40 per barrel in London.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said last Friday that crude supplies fell by 11.1 million barrels, or three per cent, for the week ended Dec. 28. Analysts had expected a drop of just a million barrels.
The American Petroleum Institute will post its inventory report on Tuesday evening, while the EIA will release its own report Wednesday morning.
The impact of last week’s release of a transcript of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting showing that U.S. policy-makers disagreed over how long to keep a bond-purchase program in place was still being felt on the market.
Traders inferred the Fed might shorten the program, which could send U.S. interest rates, and therefore the dollar, higher and drive down the price of oil. Oil, which is priced in dollars, tends to fall as the dollar strengthens and makes crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline added one cent to finish at US$2.78 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose one cent to end at US$3.03 a gallon and natural gas dropped two cents to finish at US$3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.