RTTNews - Crude oil prices turned modestly higher Wednesday as optimism over an economy recovery outweighed Energy Information Administration data showing another increase in weekly supplies.

Light sweet crude crude oil rose to $71.97 per barrel, up 55 cents on the session. Prices had earlier dipped as low as $69.71.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 349.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Economists forecast an increase of 1.5 million barrels.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 200,000 barrels last week. A decline of about 2 million barrels was expected. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels.

In economic news, ADP said non-farm private employment fell by 371,000 jobs in July following a revised decrease of 463,000 jobs in June. Economists had been expecting a decrease of about 350,000 jobs compared to the loss of 473,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Initial jobless claims data is due on Thursday and the Labor Department's employment status report is expected on Friday.

Later in the morning, government data was released showing factory orders rose 0.4% in June, compared to the 0.8% decline expected by economists. Orders jumped 2.3% excluding transportation.

Separately, the July ISM non-manufacturing survey came fell to 46.4. Economists expected the index to show a reading of 48 after having increased to 47 in June.

The run of employment data continues as initial jobless claims data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET. First-time applicants for unemployment benefits are expected to fall to 580,000 in the week ended Aug. 1, compared to 584,000 reported a week earlier.

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