Crude oil futures slip lower ahead of U.S. data


Shutterstock photo - Crude oil futures slipped lower during early European trading hours on Thursday, as markets were awaiting the release of U.S. economic reports later in the day amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of the Federal Reserve's asset purchases.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in November traded at USD102.45 a barrel during European morning trade, down 0.20%.

The November contract settled down 0.46% at USD102.66 a barrel on Wednesday.

Oil futures were likely to find support at USD102.28 a barrel, the low from August 8 and resistance at USD103.95 a barrel, Wednesday's high.

Oil prices came under pressure after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude oil stockpiles rose by 2.63 million barrels in the week ending September 20, confounding expectations for a 1.1 million decline, after a 4.4 million barrel drop in the previous week.

Gasoline inventories rose by 0.22 million barrels last week, exceeding expectations for a 0.14 million rise.

Separately, reports that Libyan oil production is on the rise after protesters reopened access to facilities also weighed on prices, as did talk that oil output in Nigeria is recovering.

Countries in the Middle East and Africa were responsible for nearly 35% of global oil production in 2012.

Traders were also monitoring developments in Iran, after the country's new government said on Wednesday it wants to jump-start talks with world powers to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program and hoped for a deal in three to six months.

Meanwhile, investors were eyeing the final reading of U.S. second quarter gross domestic product due later in the day, after a recent string of economic reports underlined concerns over the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery.

Stronger-than-expected GDP data would likely fuel speculation that the Fed could announce a stimulus reduction before the year end.

Last week, the Fed said it wanted to see more evidence of a sustained economic recovery before it reduced stimulus.

The Fed's stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of commodities as it tends to depress the value of the dollar.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for November delivery rose 0.34% to trade at USD108.31 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD5.86 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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