U.S. oil prices remain near 4-month high after supply data

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Investing.com - U.S. oil prices remained near a four-month high on Wednesday, after a U.S. government report showed that oil supplies rose more-than-expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March rose to a session high of USD101.33 a barrel, the most since October 18.

Nymex oil prices last traded at USD101.03 a barrel during U.S. morning hours, up 1.1%. Nymex oil prices traded at USD101.20 a barrel prior to the release of the supply data.

The March contract settled down 0.12% on Tuesday to end at USD99.94 a barrel. Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD99.11 a barrel, the low from February 10 and resistance at USD101.70 a barrel, the high from October 18.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week ended February 7, compared to expectations for an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 361.4 million barrels as of last week.

The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.9 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a drop of 50,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles declined by 731,000 barrels.

Meanwhile, data released earlier showed that China's trade surplus widened to USD31.86 billion last month from a surplus of USD25.6 billion in December, compared to estimates for a surplus of USD23.65 billion.

Chinese exports climbed 10.6% from a year earlier, beating expectations for a 2% increase and following a 4.3% gain in December. Imports rose 10%, compared to forecasts for a 3% increase.

According to the report, China imported a record-high 28.16 million metric tons of crude oil in January, equivalent to 6.66 million barrels a day.

The Asian nation is the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand.

OPEC, meanwhile, said world oil demand would grow at a slightly faster rate than previously expected in 2014. They now see growth of 1.09 million barrels a day, up from a previous estimate of 1.05 million barrels per day.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for March delivery tacked on 0.6% to trade at USD109.30 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD8.27 a barrel.

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