Crude-oil futures edged higher to flirt with the $86-a-barrel level Wednesday ahead of a slew of key data and events expected later in the day, including the outcome of meetings of the Federal Reserve and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Nations.
January futures of light, sweet crude-oil climbed 12 cents to $85.91 a barrel, after touching a high of $86.03 earlier in the Asian trading day. The front-month contract snapped a five-session losing streak to end 23 cents higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange overnight.
Data released after the New York settlement by the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude-oil supplies rose by 4.3 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 7.
The more closely-watched stockpile figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due out later on Wednesday.
Analysts polled by Platts are projected to show a 2.5 million barrel decline in weekly supplies.
Wednesday’s oil price increase comes ahead of the outcome of the Fed’s two-day meeting later in the day. At the meeting, the central bank’s monetary-policy-setting board is seen announcing plans to continue buying long-maturity securities beyond Dec. 31 — a move that is expected to support prices of commodities, including crude-oil.
Also Wednesday, OPEC’s oil exporting member nations will officially discuss their production quotas. The cartel is expected to leave its official target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day.
Elsewhere in the energy complex, January futures for gasoline and heating-oil rose 0.5% to $2.62 per gallon and 0.1% to $2.93 a gallon, respectively.
Natural-gas futures for delivery in the same month rose 0.2% to $3.42 per million British thermal units.