Futures Movers: Oil prices bounce higher ahead of EIA crude inventory report

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Oil futures mounted a tepid comeback Wednesday morning, as investors watched for a key U.S. inventory report due later in the session, after marking the lowest settlement in November a day ago,

Commodity investors await a report from the Energy Information Administration at 10 a.m. Eastern, which is likely to show a fourth straight weekly climb in U.S. crude inventories. A survey of analysts by S&P Global Platts forecast an increase of 1.6 million barrels for the week ended Nov. 15.

That report would come after the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by roughly 6 million barrels for the week, according to sources.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery CLZ19, +0.87%  added 35 cents, or 0.6%, to trade at $55.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling below its 50-day moving average of $55.59 on Tuesday, according to FactSet data.

The December contract expires at Wednesday’s settlement. Oil for January delivery CLF20, +0.85%, was up 34 cents, or 0.6%, at $55.69 a barrel.

January Brent crude BRNF20, +0.94%  gained 38 cents, or 0.6%, to $61.29 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, following its 2.5% decline on Tuesday.

Both crude benchmarks on Tuesday marked their lowest front-month contract settlements since Oct. 31, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

“Tuesday was the worst day for [oil] in five weeks, and followed a 1.16% slide on Monday. [Oil futures are] down 4.8% since posting an almost three month high of 58.09 early on Monday morning,” said Robert Yawger, director of energy at Mizuho Securities USA, in a Wednesday research note.

“The bearish landslide has picked up momentum in the past couple days,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s API data also reportedly showed a stockpile rise of 3.4 million barrels for gasoline, along with supply decline of 2.2 million barrels for distillates.

Investors have been downbeat on crude as doubts about a phase-one trade agreement between the U.S. and China, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that talks are hitting an impasse. A resolution on trade is expected to support higher demand for crude because tariff tensions between the world’s largest economies is seen hurting global crowd and appetite for oil.

Adding to pressures for crude thus far has been expectations for a big rise in U.S. crude supplies and a report from Reuters that said major oil exporter Russia wasn’t likely to advocate for deeper cuts during a key meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members in December.

OPEC is slated to hold its two-day gathering beginning Dec. 5 in Vienna, with its core members and major outside producers like Russia — part of an oil group known as OPEC+.

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