Oil edges up in subdued trade before US stocks data
Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday in muted trading as investors awaited a clearer signal from weekly U.S. crude inventory data on whether a glut was easing in the world's largest oil-consuming nation. Global benchmark Brent crude prices LCOc1 were up 20 cents at $46.86 a barrel at 0947 GMT.
On Tuesday, the contract settled down 30 cents, or 0.6 percent.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was up 3 cents at $44.68 a barrel. It fell 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, in the previous session. The front-month August contract will expire at the end of Wednesday's session.
"It's a continuation of directionless trade. We need more clarity on where the oil market is heading," said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank. The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) will issue stockpile data at 1430 GMT on Wednesday. <EIA/S>
If the EIA confirms a drawdown, it will be the ninth straight week in which U.S. crude stockpiles have fallen.