April crude oil prices traded marginally higher during the early morning hours, perhaps boosted by this morning's ECB Long Term Refinancing Operation. Some traders indicated that the positive outside market tone, with a weaker US dollar and higher global equity markets, was supportive to the crude oil market. Iran supply disruption concerns have come back into focus, with talk that Israel could pursue greater involvement against Iran, as well as US officials forcing Dubai Islamic Bank to halt business dealings with Iran. In the meantime, the US Energy Secretary indicates that his agency is considering releasing oil from strategic reserves. While the jury is still out on an actual release of US reserves, the market is expected to key in on a report from the Department of Energy delivered to Congress that could offer more clues on the Iran sanctioning process and global oil supply and demand balance. Market expectations for this morning's EIA report are for crude oil inventories to have risen around 1.0 million barrels last week.
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