) -- Oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were rising Wednesday morning before the release of a government report on crude inventories.

During electronic trading, the front-month contract for benchmark crude was bounding higher by $1.02 at $67.73 per barrel. On Tuesday, the price settled just lower by 13 cents at $66.71.

Demand figures will be in focus today. After the market close on Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that oil stockpiles jumped by 2.8 million barrels last week. According to a poll done by Platts, that was more than analysts' forecasts of a 2.1 million barrel increase. But oil watchers will be tuning in to the Energy Department's own inventory figures on Wednesday, which are to be released at 10:30 a.m.

Elsewhere, the dollar was weaker against a host of currencies, with both labor and manufacturing data to come later in the morning.

Several major integrated oil stocks were also moving higher before the opening bell.

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was rising by 12 cents at $69.19. American depositary receipts for


(BP) - Get Report


Royal Dutch Shell


were adding 0.4% and 0.3%, each.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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