U.S. crude oil settled at a three-month high Wednesday, after a weekly report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stockpiles to have declined last week. Oil prices were also supported by some mixed macroeconomic data from the U.S., notwithstanding a strong dollar.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in its weekly crude oil report said U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased 3.70 million barrels to 366.20 million barrels last week, but above the upper limit of average range for this time of year. The week before, crude oil inventories decreased by a similar 3.70 million barrels to 369.90 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories dropped 2.40 million barrels last week and in the lower half of the average range.
Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for September delivery gained $0.90 or 1 percent to close at $94.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.
Crude prices scaled a high of $94.90 a barrel intraday and a low of $92.68.
Yesterday, oil settled higher as investor sentiment improved on some encouraging economic data out of Europe and the U.S., despite being under pressure from a strong dollar.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at $1.2283 on Wednesday, as compared to $1.2322 late Tuesday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.2343 intraday and a low of $1.2264.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 82.69 on Wednesday, up from from 82.55 in North American trade late Tuesday. The dollar scaled a high of 82.78 intraday and a low of 82.46.
In economic news, U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly came in unchanged for July, with continued drop in energy prices offset by higher prices for food, shelter and medical care, a Labor Department report showed Wednesday. The consumer price index for July indicated prices were unchanged for a second consecutive month. Economists expected prices to edge up by about 0.2 percent.
Industrial production in the U.S. rose by slightly more than anticipated in the month of July by 0.6 percent compared to economists' estimates of around 0.5 percent increase, data from the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. The rise was attributed to increased output in the manufacturing, mining, and utilities sectors.
Conditions for New York manufacturers have unexpectedly deteriorated in August, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicated Wednesday. The New York Fed's general business conditions index dropped to a negative 5.9 in August from a positive 7.4 in July, with a negative reading indicating contraction in regional manufacturing activity. Economists expected the index to decrease to 7.0. The index of regional manufacturing activity turning negative for the first time in ten months.
Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. has unexpectedly continued to improve in August, the National Association of Home Builders report showed on Wednesday, with the confidence index reaching a new five-year high.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index climbed to 37 in August from 35 in July. Economists expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the previous month. In the U.K., Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to retain quantitative easing at GBP 375 billion and the interest rate unchanged at 0.50 percent, the minutes of the meeting held on August 1 and 2 showed today.
Data from the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of Britons claiming jobless benefits unexpectedly declined in July. The claims declined by 5,900 monthly to 1.59 million in July. Economists expected jobless claims to climb by 6,000. The measure was higher by 35,600 person from a year ago.
by RTT Staff Writer
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