West Texas Intermediate traded near the lowest price in a week amid speculation crude inventories increased in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures were little changed in New York after slipping for a second day. Crude stockpiles probably gained by 2.25 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Information Administration report tomorrow. WTI slid the most in almost a month yesterday after a manufacturing gauge in the U.S. dropped more than forecast.
“The data out of the U.S. is showing things aren’t as good as expected when it comes to the economy,” David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone today. “That’s going to have an impact on the oil price because the U.S. is a big consumer.”
WTI for March delivery was at $96.48 a barrel, up 5 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:25 a.m. Sydney time. The contract fell $1.06, or 1.1 percent, to $96.43 yesterday, the lowest settlement since Jan. 27. The volume of all futures traded was about 72 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are down 2 percent this year.
Brent for March settlement dropped 36 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $106.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $9.61 to WTI.
U.S. manufacturing expanded in January at the weakest pace in eight months. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index slid to 51.3, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a separate Bloomberg News survey, from 56.5 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed.