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Oil hovers above $91 as traders eye crude supplies

Oil hovers above $91 as traders eye crude supplies

Oil prices hovered above $91 a barrel Wednesday in Asia ahead of reports that may show a third week of U.S. crude inventory reductions, a sign demand is improving.
Benchmark oil for February delivery rose 1 cent to $91.50 a barrel late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 49 cents to settle at $91.49 on Tuesday.
Crude supplies likely fell 3.2 million barrels last week, according to analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos. The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to announce its inventory numbers later Wednesday while the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data Thursday.
Crude inventories have fallen 15 million barrels the previous two weeks, according to the EIA.
Oil prices have rallied in the fourth quarter as crude traders have followed global stock market gains and a weaker U.S. dollar, which makes commodities cheaper for investors with other currencies.
"Oil prices want to advance," Cameron Hanover said in a report. "Investors are especially keen to follow whatever factor is most supportive of prices moving higher."
This week trading volume is light as many traders take time off around the year-end holidays. Global oil markets are closed Friday for New Year's Day.
In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil added 0.3 cent to $2.53 a gallon and gasoline futures gained 0.5 cent to $2.41 a gallon. February natural gas futures dropped 2.5 cents to $4.26 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude fell 3 cents to $94.35 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.