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Oil rises in Asia following U.S. inventory data

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Shutterstock photo - Oil futures are trading modestly higher during Thursday's Asian session, rebounding from a small loss in Wednesday U.S. session at the hands of the weekly inventory data.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for May delivery are up 0.10% at USD96.67 per barrel in Asian trading Thursday after settling down 0.31% at USD96.04 a barrel on Wednesday in the U.S.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported earlier that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 3.256 million barrels last week after falling by 1.314 million barrels in the week before last. Analysts were expecting oil inventories to rise by only 705,000 last week.

Gasoline inventories, meanwhile, fell by 1.596 million barrels compared to a drop of 1.476 million barrels in the preceding week. Analysts were calling for gasoline inventories to fall by 1.020 million last week.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales fell 0.4% in February from January, but added the number increased 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. Despite trading lower today in Asia, gold is on track for gain of better than 1.5% this month.

Also on Wednesday, Citigroup published a report saying it expects oil demand will peak before the current decade is over. The bank also slashed its price forecast on Brent crude to USD80 to USD90.

Elsewhere, the Nigerian National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency are seeking a combined USD11.5 billion in fines from Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, related to an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field in December 2011. Shell says there is no basis for the claims.

Brazil's Petrobras, that country's state-run oil giant, said it will sell two offshore fields in Nigeria as part of its plan to sell USD9.9 billion worth of assets this year.

Meanwhile Brent crude futures for May delivery rose 0.09% to USD109.84 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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