SINGAPORE, (AP) -Oil prices were steady in Asian trading Tuesday amid forecasts that data due the following day will show a decline in U.S. gasoline and distillate stockpiles.
Prices were also supported by worries over tensions between Western powers and Iran, OPEC’s No. 2 supplier, and snowy weather in the U.S. Northeast, the country’s largest heating oil market.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 8 cents to $61.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange mid-afternoon in Singapore. The contract rose by 0.4 percent to close at a 2-month high of $61.39 a barrel Tuesday.
April Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose 3 cents to $61.36 a barrel.
Analysts are expecting a U.S. government report due Wednesday to say both distillate and gasoline stockpiles fell in the week ended Feb. 23.
Distillate stockpiles, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, are likely to fall by 2.6 million barrels in the report by the U.S. Energy Department, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.
Gasoline stockpiles are seen declining by 1.6 million barrels while crude oil inventories are expected to rise by 1.2 million barrels.
On Monday, the United States, the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany began work on a new U.N. resolution that could impose further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program after Tehran rejected U.N. demands it stop enriching uranium.
Heating oil demand was expected to rise with a winter storm that pounded the U.S. Midwest Monday with as much as two feet of snow. The storm also dumped more than a foot of snow on the Northeast.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures lost 0.27 cents to $1.7535 a gallon while natural gas fell 1.3 cents to $7.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.