Oil futures were lower early Wednesday, on track to snap a four-day winning streak after an industry trade group reported a rise in U.S. inventories of crude and products as traders awaited a more closely followed government tally later in the session.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery CLF20, -0.49% fell 26 cents, or 0.4%, to $60.68 a barrel, while February Brent crude BRNG20, -0.24%, the global benchmark, declined 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $65.95 a barrel. Crude futures on Tuesday logged their fourth straight gain, lifting prices to a three-month high in the wake of a so-called phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China announced at the end of last week.
“Overall, it seems that the market was still feeling good [on Tuesday] about improving demand prospects thanks to the progress on the U.S.-China trade front. However, post-settlement data from the American Petroleum Institute took some wind out of the bull’s sails, with inventory builds reported for the three main oil categories, namely crude, gasoline, and diesel,” wrote analysts at JBC Energy, a Vienna-based consulting firm, in a note.
API late Tuesday reported U.S. crude supplies rose by 4.7 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 13, according to sources, while gasoline stockpiles rose by 5.6 million barrels and distillate stocks grew by 3.7 million barrels. The Energy Information Administration is set to release its weekly inventory report at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts, on average, look for crude inventories to fall by 2.5 million barrels, while gasoline stocks are expected to rise by 2.4 million barrels and distillate inventories are seen increasing by 600,000 barrels.
January natural-gas futures NGF20, -1.68% declined 1.6% to $2.281 per million British thermal units.