NEW YORK—Oil prices edged higher yesterday, before a government report on US crude stockpiles following an unexpected drop last week. Benchmark crude rose ten cents to finish at $93.19 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose 9 cents to end at $111.40 per barrel in London.
The US Energy Information Administration said last Friday crude supplies fell by 11.1 million barrels, or three per cent, for the week ended December 28. Analysts expected a drop of just a million barrels. The American Petroleum Institute will post its inventory report this evening, while the EIA will release its own report tomorrow morning.
The impact of last week’s release of a transcript of the Federal Reserve's December meeting showing that US policymakers disagreed over how long to keep a bond-purchase programme in place was still being felt on the market.
Traders inferred the Fed might shorten the programme, which could send US interest rates, and therefore the dollar, higher. That in turn would hurt the price of oil. Oil, which is priced in dollars, tends to fall as the dollar strengthens and makes crude more expensive for investors holding foreign currencies.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
—Wholesale gasoline added 1 cent to finish at $2.78 a gallon.
—Heating oil rose 1 cent to end at $3.03 a gallon.
—Natural gas dropped 2 cents to finish at $3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.