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Crude Oil Futures Rise Slightly in Asia

Published: January 16, 2013 | 8:00 am
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Crude oil futures rose Wednesday on bargain buying in Asia following declines in New York overnight, but gains remain muted ahead of a potentially bearish set of U.S. oil inventory data due later in the global day.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at $93.44 a barrel at 0633 GMT, up $0.16 in the Globex electronic session. February Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.33 to $110.63 a barrel.
A stronger Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar fuelled buying interest in Asia as a weaker dollar makes oil cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.
But gasoline futures, which have been a source of weakness in recent crude trade, continued to decline on expectations of further increase in the product’s inventories and crack spreads.
Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for February–the benchmark gasoline contract–fell 16 points to $2.7050 a gallon, while February heating oil traded at $3.0264, 151 points higher.
Analysts on average expect U.S. data due later Wednesday will show an eighth consecutive weekly rise in gasoline stockpiles. Gasoline stockpiles may rise by 2.3 million barrels on the week while crude oil inventories are expected to rise by 2.1 million barrels. Stocks of distillate, which include heating oil and diesel, are seen rising 1.3 million barrels.
“Gasoline demand is still falling appreciably short of prior expectations as improved vehicle efficiencies, continued high unemployment, et cetera more than offset the sharp decline in retail pricing that has been developing in recent months,” said Jim Ritterbusch at Ritterbusch and Associates.
But a heavy slate of U.S. economic releases this week could offer enough economic optimism to spark a fresh round of bullish speculative interest in Nymex WTI, he said.
Later in the week, focus will shift to China’s fourth-quarter growth numbers due Friday that will likely have an impact on crude oil prices, given that China has been a cornerstone of global oil demand growth in recent years.
ICE gasoil for February changed hands at $957.50 a metric ton, down $3.25 from Tuesday’s settlement.
Write to Gurdeep Singh at gurdeep.singh@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

© 2013 Dow Jones Newswires

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