Futures Movers: Oil higher after data points to fall in U.S. crude inventories

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Oil futures rose Wednesday ahead of government data on U.S. crude inventories, buoyed by figures from a trade group that showed an unexpected decline in stocks.

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery CLX19, +0.22%  rose 33 cents, or 0.6%, to $53.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December Brent BRNZ19, -0.05%, the global benchmark, gained 27 cents, or 0.5%, to $59.16 a barrel. Crude fell sharply on Tuesday after a weaker-than-expected reading of the Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. manufacturing index pointed to a slowdown in activity and stoked worries over demand.

“The oil inventory report is not fitting the bearish narrative that is being exposed as global manufacturing data takes a dive,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, in a note.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, late Tuesday reported a 5.9 million barrel fall in U.S. crude supplies in the week ended Sept. 27, sources said. The API also reported a 2.1 million barrel rise in gasoline stockpiles, while distillate inventories declined by 1.7 million barrels.

The Energy Information Administration’s more closely watched figures are due later Wednesday morning. The EIA is expected to show crude inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also look for gasoline inventories to rise by 308,000 barrels, while distillate supplies are forecast to fall 2.2 million barrels.

“The surprise plunge in the ISM purchasing managers index to 47.8 in September raised concerns about a major global economic slowdown and a bad start to the fourth quarter of the year. Yet the American Petroleum Institute report seemed to show data that seems to fly in the face of the doom and gloom,” Flynn said.

In other energy trade, November gasoline RBX19, -0.21%  was off 0.1% at $1.5719 a gallon, while November heating oil HOX19, -0.01%  was up marginally at $1.8987 a gallon.

November natural-gas futures NGX19, +0.61%  were off 0.4% at $2.274 per million British thermal units.