The price of oil was steady above $98 a barrel Wednesday ahead of a report on U.S. crude stockpiles.
Benchmark crude for January delivery was down 5 cents to $98.46 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $1.17 to $98.51 on Tuesday, its highest level in six weeks, on optimism that the U.S. Energy Department’s report Wednesday would show supplies fell for the second week in a row.
Data for the week ending Dec. 6 is expected to show a draw of 2.8 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a draw of 2.1 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Oil has fallen from $110 in September on high supplies, muted demand and a lessening of Middle East tensions. It sank to nearly $92 late last month but has since crept higher as the U.S. and Chinese economies show signs of sustained recovery.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 3 cents to $109.41 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was down 1.1 cent to $2.672 a gallon.
— Heating oil was flat at $3.017 a gallon
— Natural gas rose 1.2 cents to $4.249 per 1,000 cubic feet.