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NYMEX crude gains in early Asia ahead of U.S. stockpile reports

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Shutterstock photo - - Crude oil prices gained marginally in Asia onb Tuesday ahead of U.S. industry data on supplies that will set a tone.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its estimate of U.S. crude, distillate and gasoline stockpiles last week, with more closely watched data from the U.S. Department of Energy due on Wednesday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.18% to trade at $49.83 a barrel.

Overnight, West Texas Intermediate oil futures shook off earlier weakness on Monday to trade higher as traders digested the latest batch of U.S. economic data in their quest to gauge the strength of the economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of purchasing managers fell to a 13-month low of 52.9 in February from a reading of 53.5 in January. Analysts had expected the manufacturing PMI to decline to 53.0 in February.

The report came after the Commerce Department said that personal spending fell 0.2% in January, worse than expectations for a decline of 0.1% and following a drop of 0.3% in December.

It was the first back-to-back decline in consumer spending since early 2009. Consumer spending is the single biggest source of U.S. economic growth, accounting for as much as two-thirds of economic activity.

The report also showed personal income rose 0.3% in January, below forecasts for a 0.4% increase.

Gains were limited as investors continued to focus on a glut in North American supplies.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for April delivery tumbled $1.14, or 1.81%, to trade at $61.45 a barrel amid easing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya on Monday.

Iraq's oil minister, Adel Abdel Mehdi, said on Sunday he expected to see crude prices at around $65.

Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said last week that oil markets have settled down after a prolonged period of volatility late last year.

Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut output, while the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in more than three decades, creating a glut in global supplies. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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