By PAMELA SAMPSON, Associated Press
BANGKOK (AP) — Crude prices vacillated between gains and losses Wednesday as traders waited for the U.S. Energy Department to release its latest oil supply data.
Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 6 cents to $105.24 at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.26, or 1.2 percent, to close at $105.30 on Tuesday.
Traders were waiting for the U.S. government's Energy Information Agency to release its weekly inventories report later Wednesday. Last week, crude supplies grew 400,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 364.6 million barrels, which is 2.4 percent below year-ago levels.
The International Energy Agency and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will also release their latest assessments of energy markets, including forecasts for worldwide demand for oil. Analysts are anticipating some downward revisions, given a slowdown in China's economy.
The dollar, however, is underpinning oil prices. It has fallen into a 97-98 yen range, weaker than July when the greenback was worth about 100 yen. A weak dollar tends to boost commodities, which become more attractive investments for holders of other currencies.
"The dollar also not strong enough to suppress the interest in oil so that is why oil prices will hover around the current levels," said Kwong Man Bun, chief operating officer at KGI Securities in Hong Kong.
Brent crude, traded on the ICE Futures exchange in London, was down 37 cents at $107.81 a barrel.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Heating oil fell 1 cent to $2.998 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.298 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cent to $2.91 a gallon.
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