Gasoline futures were advancing while crude and diesel contracts bounced off earlier declines to struggle close to positive territory Wednesday following the release of bullish federal inventory and demand data earlier in the morning.

Gasoline futures were seeing strong gains at 11 a.m. ET, with the NYMEX June RBOB contract rising 2.21cts to $2.4817/gal, more than 4cts off earlier lows. July prices were 1.95cts higher to $2.4710/gal. ULSD losses were measured in fractions of a cent, with the June contract down 0.16ct to $2.4184/gal, bouncing back from an earlier low of $2.3764/gal. The July contract was off 0.2ct to $2.4325/gal.

Oil contracts were more than $1 higher than earlier lows, with the June West Texas Intermediate crude down 4cts to $77.98/bbl while July prices were 3cts lower to $77.62/bbl. Prices for July and August Brent crude were each 1ct lower to $82.37/bbl and $81.95/bbl, respectively.

Energy prices had started the morning under pressure after the International Energy Agency lowered its monthly forecast for global oil demand growth in 2024 to 1.1 million b/d, down from 1.2 million b/d in its April forecast. IEA, however, still expects demand to average 103.2 million b/d over the course of the year.

The release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly Petroleum Status Report, however, turned markets around, as EIA reported declines in crude, gasoline and distillate inventories in the week ending Friday. EIA also said U.S. gasoline demand increased during the week.

EIA's reported 2.5 million bbl drop in U.S. crude inventories was higher than anticipated, with supplies now 4% below seasonal averages. Gasoline supplies fell by 200,000 bbl and were 1% below the five-year average while distillate supplies declined slightly and remain 7% lower than usual at this time of year, EIA said.

The drop in crude inventories came as U.S. refineries operated at 90.4% of capacity during the week, an increase of nearly two percentage points from the previous week and the highest levels seen so far this year.

Total gasoline products supplied, EIA's indicator of implied demand, rose by about 80,000 bbl during the week to 8.875 million b/d - still slightly below levels seen at this time last year.

Energy prices are also receiving support from the release of the Labor Department's latest Consumer Price Index on Wednesday, which showed a 0.3% increase from March, slightly lower than expected, sparking a small rally in equity markets.

This content was created by Oil Price Information Service, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. OPIS is run independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.

--Reporting by Steve Cronin,; Editing by Michael Kelly,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-15-24 1220ET