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Mixed petroleum inventory data leaves crude oil in limbo

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Mixed petroleum inventory data leaves crude oil in limbo

Crude oil prices edged lower on the open after crude draws reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday evening missed expectations.  Demand for products continued to remain strong but continue to keep in stride with robust output coming from the US.

A report from the American Petroleum Institute showed that crude stocks fell by 999,000 barrels during the week ending August 9, 2013. The consensus estimate was for a 1.5 million-barrel decrease, according to a survey of analysts. The API data report showed inventories of gasoline increased by 1.7 million barrels versus an estimate of a drop of 2 million barrels, which weighed on RBOB gasoline prices. Distillate supplies, increased by 1.1 million barrels, roughly in line with expectations for a 1 million barrel climb.

On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration released inventory data that was better than expected for petroleum bulls. According to the EIA, US commercial crude oil decreased by 2.8 million barrels from the prior week. Expectations were for a decline of 1mm barrels of crude oil. Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week, compared to the 1 million barrel decline expected by analysts.  Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.0 million barrels last week but are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year.

Crude oil prices fluctuated between positive and negative territory, holding support near the 10-day moving average at 105.96.  Resistance is seen near the July and August highs at 108.90.  Momentum is flat but the trajectory is turning upward as the MACD is poised to generate a buy signal.  The index is printing near the zero level, slightly in negative territory.  The RSI (relative strength index) is printing near 56 which is in the middle of the neutral range.

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