Investing.com - Oil futures are trading modestly lower in Asia Thursday after a higher-than-expected U.S. inventories report was published on Wednesday.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for April delivery are off 0.29% at USD92.25 per barrel in Asian trading Thursday after settling lower by 0.54% at USD92.04 a barrel on Wednesday in the U.S.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said oil inventories rose by 2.624 million barrels last week, down from 3.833 million in the preceding week but above market calls for a gain of 2.338 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories fell by 3.571 million barrels, well above a decline of 616,000 barrels a week ago and beyond market calls for a decline of 1.163 million barrels.
Oil traders opted to focus on those numbers rather than a pair of encouraging U.S. data points. In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose 0.6% last month. Core sales, excluding gasoline and construction sales, rose 0.4%. Auto sales climbed 1.1% after rising 0.4% in January.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said business inventories rose 1% in January, the biggest increase since May 2011. The January reading topped December's reading of a gain of 0.3%. Economists expected a January gain of 0.5%.
Not only is the U.S. the world's largest economy, it is also the world's largest oil-consuming nation.
Elsewhere, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. is renewing waivers for Japan and 10 European nations for their roles in the sanction program against Iran. Along with the U.S., other Western nations have had economic sanctions against Iran because of the country's nuclear program. Iran is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures for May delivery fell 0.10% to USD107.97 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
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