By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — Oil prices edged higher Tuesday, with traders awaiting the latest U.S. inventory numbers and a potential move by the Biden administration to combat soaring gasoline prices.
U.S. Gasoline RBOB Futures were up 1.2% at $2.3495 a gallon.
Crude has been on a tear this year, with the Nymex contract climbing to a seven-year high last month and the equivalent Brent contract rising to a three-year peak on the back of the global economic recovery and supply restraint by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+.
Only last week OPEC+ decided to stick to its existing pace of easing the record output cuts put in place at the start of the pandemic, agreeing to increase supply by just 400,000 barrels a day, rebuffing requests from the U.S., among others, to pump more.
This prompted U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to say on Monday that U.S. President Joe Biden may take measures as early as this week to address the country’s high gasoline prices, a political hot potato.
“The most obvious tool for the U.S. administration to use is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” said analysts at ING, in a note. “Outside of mandated and SPR modernization sales (and a test sale in 2014), the last sale was part of a coordinated IEA release back in June 2011, which saw 30.6MMbbls released.”
The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute is set to release later Tuesday its weekly estimate of U.S. oil and product stockpiles. The market is expecting another build in crude inventories, but gasoline supplies, already at the lowest level in four years, are expected to show a fifth weekly draw.
Also due later in the session is the weekly petroleum status report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Crude Oil Edges Higher; API Inventory Data Due
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