Oil prices dropped for a second straight day on Wednesday as traders looked ahead to the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report. The drop took crude further off its recently seen multi-month high.
Crude oil prices fell to $52.60, down $1.38 for the session. Prices touched as low as $52.08 in the early going.
Traders await the Energy Department's weekly inventory report due at 10:30 a.m. ET. Experts are looking for a build of about 1.2 million barrels in the recent week. This would be the the 22nd rise in 26 weeks.
The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that crude oil inventories increased by 4.57 million barrels in the recent week. Gasoline inventories fell 805,000 barrels.
Oil slipped 18 cents amid choppy trading on Tuesday. Prices added $1.73 on Monday and hit an intraday high of $54.05, the best level since January.
On the economic front, a Commerce Department report showed that durable goods orders jumped 3.4 percent in February after falling by a revised 7.3 percent in January. Economists had been expecting durable goods orders to fall by 2.5 percent compared to the 4.5 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, industry data showed that mortgage application volume rose over 32 percent last week, as low mortgage rates on the heels of the Fed's decision to buy Treasury securities encouraged both the purchase and refinancing of mortgages. Rates fell to 6-year lows, spurring a 41.5 percent jump in refinancing activity.
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