Oil Pulls Back Ahead of Stocks Data

By Christopher AlessiFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Oil prices lost some ground Wednesday morning, as investors prepared for the release of weekly data on U.S. inventory levels due later today.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 0.4%, to $58.12 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.5% at $52.20 a barrel.

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"The market is waiting for the [U.S. Energy Information Administration] report this afternoon," said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank.

Mr. Weinberg said traders would be looking for signs of a further drawdown in U.S. stocks and to see whether production was fully back online in the wake of the heavy storm season.

Analysts and traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect stockpiles of crude oil to have decreased by 2.2 million barrels, on average, in the week ended Oct. 20.

But the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that its own data showed a 519,000-barrel increase in crude supplies for last week.

Meanwhile, a "feel-good factor returned to the fore of the energy complex yesterday as bulls cheered a frenzy of supportive comments from major oil producers," Stephen Brennock, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd., wrote in a note Wednesday.

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated their commitment to tackling the global oil supply glut, while hinting at extending an OPEC-led production cutting deal through the end of next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries--of which Saudi Arabia is the largest member--and some other major producers like Russia first agreed late last year to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

The deal, which was extended in May through March 2018, is expected to be a key topic of debate at OPEC's next official meeting in Vienna in November.

Among refined products, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock--the benchmark gasoline contract--was flat, at $1.67 a gallon. ICE gasoil, a benchmark for diesel fuel, changed hands at $527.25 a metric ton, up nearly 1% from the previous settlement.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 06:18 ET (10:18 GMT)