Oil futures moved lower Tuesday, on track to suffer a second straight day of losses as traders awaited data that may reveal a third weekly climb in U.S. crude inventories.
A more definite price direction is expected soon, when the U.S. weekly oil inventory report reveals estimates on how oil stocks performed last week, said Bjørnar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy. As refinery operations are resuming, in the wake of damage from the frigid temperatures in midFebruary, markets will be expecting crude stocks to further draw down towards the spring.
The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, will release its supply report late Tuesday, followed by official data from the Energy Information Administration early Wednesday.
On average, analysts expected domestic crude supplies rose by 2.7 million barrels for the week ended March 5, according to a survey conducted by SP Global Platts. Supplies jumped up by 21.6 million barrels the week before, with analysts citing the change to a drop in refinery activity from the winter storm in Texas.
While overall oil demand levels continue to gather strength, the lingering impact of last months winter storms has complicated matters, said Robbie Fraser, global research analytics manager at Schneider Electric, in a market update. Even as production has essentially returned to normal, some refineries have seen run rates impacted into the current month.
Meanwhile, the SP Global Platts survey also forecast inventory…