BANGKOK – The price of oil was nearly unchanged Wednesday as traders weighed a positive U.S. economic report against rising supplies of crude.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 14 cents to $94.35 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
A report Tuesday showing a slight improvement in optimism among U.S. small businesses helped lift Wall Street and spilled over into energy markets Wednesday.
The contract fell 96 cents to close at $94.21 on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for U.S. oil production while cutting its prediction for global crude demand. Analysts said assessments such as the one from the Paris-based IEA were keeping crude prices in check.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said in a market commentary that "rising inventories in the US mean that supply will likely outweigh demand for quite some time to come."
Later Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release industrial production data for April while the National Association of Home Builders releases its housing market index for May. The data will help shed additional light on the extent of the economic recovery in the U.S., which in turn could influence future energy consumption.
The IEA predicted growth in global demand would remain subdued throughout 2013.
Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 5 cents to $102.56 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.2 cent to $2.839 a gallon.
— Heating oil fell 0.3 cent to $2.87 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 1.2 cents to $4.012 per 1,000 cubic feet.