Oil rises ahead of US stockpile report


SINGAPORE — Oil prices rose in Asia Wednesday as dealers await the latest U.S. stockpiles report for clues about demand in the world’s top crude consumer, while buying was boosted by upbeat economic data out of Washington.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was up three cents at US$93.89 while Brent crude for October jumped 22 cents to US$102.72 in afternoon trade. The U.S. Department of Energy will release the official petroleum stockpiles report for the week to Aug. 22 later Wednesday.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires expect crude oil reserves to have dropped by 900,000 barrels on average.

Gasoline inventories are projected to have fallen by one million barrels and distillates, including heating oil and diesel, are estimated to have declined by 600,000 barrels. A decline in U.S. stockpiles typically indicates strong demand in the world’s biggest economy, supporting global prices. The Conference Board said Tuesday that consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month to its strongest level since February 2008. Also, durable goods orders surged in July to a new monthly record, according to the Commerce Department. In Belarus, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about heavy fighting in east Ukraine. Ukraine is a key conduit for Russian gas exports to Europe.