Crude oil futures ended modestly higher on Wednesday as data revealed an unexpected rise in domestic crude inventories, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, May West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 12 cents or 0.2%, to settle at $51.15 a barrel.
On the London ICE Futures Exchange, June Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 19 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $54.36 a barrel. Both benchmarks posted their highest settlements since March 7.
Positive momentum was thwarted after the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that domestic crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 200,000-barrel decline in inventories, while reports said data released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute had shown a 1.8 million barrel decline.
Rising domestic oil inventories are “still like a chain round the neck of the market” because they allow bears to point to supply fears, said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, in a phone interview.
Flynn said the continued rise in inventories and U.S. output overshadow underlying bullish themes, including strong demand for gasoline and other products as well as global production cuts by OPEC and other major oil producers that are expected to be extended this summer.
Back on the New York Mercantile Exchange, May natural gas lost 2.7 cents, or 0.8%, to close at $3.226 per million British thermal units.