Crude oil fell for a fourth straight day in early trading on Wednesday as traders expected to see inventories increased for a fifth straight week. The Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report is due at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Light sweet crude oil for May settlement moved to $48.55, down 58 cents for the session. Prices slipped as low as $47.37 in early trading.
Economists are looking for a build in inventories of about 2.3 million barrels in the week ended April 3. Last week's data showed crude oil inventories increased 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 3 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories increased 2.2 million barrels last week. A drop of about 1.5 million barrels was expected.
On Tuesday after the close of floor trading, the American Petroleum Institute's weekly inventory report revealed a build of 6.9 million barrels to 364.7 million in the recent week. Participation in the survey is voluntary, while refineries are required to report for the EIA data.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is due to release its wholesale inventories report at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect wholesale inventories at the end of February to show a 0.6 percent decline.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of the latest policy-setting meeting at 2 pm ET.
The dollar saw choppy dealing versus other major currencies Wednesday morning in New York. The greenback hit a weekly-high against the euro before turning lower. The buck was little-changed against the sterling and down versus the yen.
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