MTECHTIPS;- U.S. oil prices edge lower on bets for bearish supply

MTECHTIPS;- U.S. oil prices edge lower on bets for bearish supply report

MTECHTIPS- U.S. oil prices edged slightly lower in light pre-New Year holiday trade on Thursday, as market players awaited fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products. Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped 20 cents, or around 0.4%, to $53.84 a barrel by 4:30 AM ET (09:30 GMT), after climbing 16 cents, or 0.3%, a day earlier. The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 11:00 AM ET (16:00 GMT) Thursday, amid analyst expectations for a decline of 2.0 million barrels. Gasoline inventories are expected to rise by 1.3 million barrels while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are forecast to increase by 1.8 million barrels. The report comes out one day later than usual due to the holidays. After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories rose by 4.2 million barrels in the week ended December 23, surprising analysts who expected a 1.5-million-barrel decline. The API report also showed a decline of 2.8 million barrels in gasoline stocks.

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