Crude oil posted its third straight decline on Tuesday as traders awaited the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report. Oil fell for the third day in a row.
Light sweet crude for May delivery dropped to $49.43, down $1.62 for the session. Prices hit as low as $49.34 earlier in the session.
Traders looked ahead to the EIA data's release, which is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for a build 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.
The American Petroleum Institute's weekly inventory report is at 4:30 p.m. ET today.
Traders also looked ahead to some key economic data later in the week. Wednesday will bring wholesale trade data while import and export prices will be announced on Thursday.
The dollar rallied against the euro and sterling amid some worries about earnings season, which pushed traders toward the lower-yielding currency. The buck eased versus the yen.
Crude oil dropped $1.46 for Monday's session. Prices touched as low as $49.81 in afternoon trading.
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