By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - The price of oil fluctuated Wednesday as investors assessed the latest report on U.S. oil and gasoline supplies and statements from the chairman of the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy.
Benchmark crude for August delivery was up 11 cents at $106.11 in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price has moved between $105.60 and $106.35 since trading opened in New York.
The Energy Department reported another sizable decline in oil supplies. The nation's inventory of crude oil fell 6.9 million barrels last week, bringing the three-week decline to 27.1 million barrels. That was somewhat offset by an increase in gasoline supplies of 3.1 million barrels. Gasoline supplies had dropped in the previous two weeks.
Analysts expected a decline of 2.5 million barrels in crude oil supplies and no change in gasoline supplies, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The markets also weighed comments to Congress from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke said the central bank had no firm timetable for cutting back on the bond purchases that have helped depress long-term interest rates.
The withdrawal of the bond purchases could push the dollar higher as U.S. interest rates would tend to rise. That would make oil a less attractive investment for investors with foreign currency that has to be converted to dollars.
In London, Brent crude was up 43 cents to $108.57 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent at $3.13 per gallon.
- Heating oil rose 2 cents to $3.07 a gallon.
- Natural gas dropped 5 cents to $3.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.
AP Writer Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.