NEW YORK (
) -- Crude oil futures settled higher Tuesday, capping nine straight days of declines, helped by stronger demand estimates from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, although gains may be pressured on Wednesday after an industry report showed a rise in weekly inventories.
Late Tuesday the American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise 924,000-barrel increase in crude inventories last week. Analysts polled by Platts forecast a drawdown of 2 million barrels.
With persistently high oil inventory levels continuing to weigh on the market, the unexpected supply uptick will increase anticipation of the more closely watched report from the Energy Information Administration, which will be released at 10:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday.
Ahead of the API report, the January crude oil contract settled Tuesday's session up by $1.18, or 1.7%, at $70.69 a barrel.
Earlier in the day, news spread that OPEC revised its world oil demand forecasts in 2010, boosting it by 70,000 barrels per day from its November estimates. Still, the group warned that the pace of global economic recovery was still tenuous and could weigh on demand.
A swirl of economic data in the morning also offered a cloudy assessment of U.S. economic growth. On the one hand,
U.S. industrial production rose by a better-than-expected 0.8%, according to a report from the
But markets also digested news that
inflation at the wholesale level rose more than forecast due to higher energy costs, while
manufacturing in New York hit an unexpected slump in December.
Major integrated oil companies were mixed in Tuesday trading.
shed 4 cents, or 0.1% to $69.65.
declined by 0.7% to $50.74, while shares of
finished up by 11 cents, or 0.1%, at $77.37.
U.S. Oil Fund
added 35 cents, or nearly 1%, to close at $35.93.
Supported by news that Exxon Mobil was buying natural gas operator
, natural gas futures soared to 11-month highs on Monday. The January contract continued strengthening Tuesday, settling 19 cents higher, or up 3.6% to $5.52 per million British thermal units.
The January contract for reformulated gasoline climbed nearly 2 cents to settle at $1.85 a gallon, while the January heating oil contract dipped 0.3% to $1.90 a gallon.
--Written by Sung Moss and Melinda Peer in New York