Oil prices nudged higher on Wednesday on expectations of a U.S. crude inventory draw, although trading activity was muted as markets start to wind down ahead of the Christmas weekend.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were trading at $53.58 per barrel at 0105 GMT, up 28 cents from their last settlement.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $55.57 a barrel, up 22 cents.
Traders said the higher prices were largely due to an expected reduction in U.S. crude oil inventories, which will be reported late on Wednesday.
Jeffrey Halley, analyst at futures OANDA in Singapore said U.S. crude stocks were expected to fall by 2.563 million barrels.
In the absence of strong fundamentals, traders said that technical support and resistance levels would become price drivers.
“U.S. oil may rise to $54.37 per barrel, as it has broken resistance at $53.36,” said Reuters technical commodities analyst Wang Tao.
“Brent oil is poised to break a resistance at $55.79 per barrel,” he said.