West Texas Intermediate swung between gains and losses near $103 a barrel amid speculation crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, fell as cold weather boosted fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures fluctuated in New York after rising for the first time in three days yesterday. Supplies at Cushing, the nation’s largest oil-storage hub, probably dropped for a fourth week, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Temperatures across the Midwest are forecast to crash below zero Fahrenheit as another round of arctic air sweeps south from Canada. Brent in London rose yesterday after Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp. said crude output fell as the Sharara field was halted.
“The first rise in three days for WTI was on speculation of some inventory tightening at Cushing,” Mark Pervan, the head of commodity research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in an e-mailed note today. “Brent continues to carry support from stagnating Libyan output.”
WTI for April delivery was at $102.62 a barrel, down 20 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:43 a.m. Sydney time. The contract rose 0.6 percent to $102.82 yesterday. The volume of all futures traded was about 79 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for April settlement increased 79 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $110.64 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $7.82 WTI.
U.S. distillate inventories, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, probably shrank by 1.5 million barrels last week, according to a separate Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report tomorrow.