The energy commodity gained as a labor strike in Norway continues and European Union sanctions against the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation are closing in next month. Those gains trumped losses crude oil futures suffered as pessimism continues spreading about prospects for success at the two-day European Union summit in Brussels beginning Thursday.
"Markets in general are in a 'wait-and-see' mode and skewed toward the bearish side," commodity strategist Filip Petersson with EB AB of Stockholm told Bloomberg. "Everything is driven by the EU summit."
At 9:28 a.m. on Wednesday, crude oil futures increased 0.4 percent, a 37 cent lift to $93.39 per barrel.
Thus far this quarter, crude oil prices have dropped at least 22 percent, representing the largest fall in since the last three months of 2008.
The Wall Street Journal reports a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 14 analysts indicated U.S. stockpiles of crude oil declined as much as 2.4 million barrels or gained as many as 2.5 million barrels. The survey's average indicated reductions to U.S. supplies of 500,000 barrels.
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