Crude Oil Futures Lose Ground on Tuesday as Traders Await Crucial Supply Data

Oil prices dropped on Tuesday ahead of the release of weekly government data expected to reveal a rise in domestic crude supplies, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

April West Texas Intermediate crude declined by 88 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $47.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract, which expired at the settlement, finish at their lowest level since November, according to FactSet data.

May WTI, which is now the front-month contract, shed 67 cents, or 1.4%, to finish at $48.24 a barrel.

On the London ICE Futures Exchange, May Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 66 cents, or 1.3%, to end trading at $50.96 a barrel.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its petroleum inventory data late Tuesday while the Energy Information Administration’s report will be issued early Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts forecast a climb of two million barrels in crude inventories for the week ending March 17.

“A lot of the recent volatility in oil has been around traders trying to figure out if the big build we saw in U.S. inventories in the winter is over or not,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Back on the New York Mercantile Exchange, April natural gas settled at $3.093 per million British thermal units, up 1.7%.