Investing.com – Crude prices were little changed in early action on Wednesday, halting their recent decline, as investors turned their attention to fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its at 4:30PM ET (2030GMT). Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock gain of .
Both reports come out one day later than usual because of the federal Memorial Day holiday on Monday.
was up 8 cents, or around 0.1%, at $66.81 a barrel at 4:10AM ET (0810GMT), after settling $1.15 lower on Tuesday.
futures were down 2 cents at $75.47 a barrel, after settling up 9 cents in the last session.
amid expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia would pump more oil to ease a potential shortfall in supply.
The two oil-producing nations recently discussed raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil output by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to counter potential supply shortfalls from Venezuela and Iran.
OPEC is scheduled to hold its next meeting in Vienna on June 22.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers led by Russia have been curbing output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to prop up oil prices and reduce high global oil stocks. The pact began in January 2017 and is set to expire at the end of 2018.
A relentless increase in U.S. drilling for new production has also dampened sentiment.
The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. is back to the highest level since March 2015, underscoring worries about rising U.S. output.
Domestic oil production – driven by shale extraction – has already surged by more than 27% in the last two years, to an all-time high of 10.73 million bpd.
Only Russia currently produces more, at around 11 million bpd.
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