03/13/2013 07:35 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Oil rises a 5th day in a row as traders await US supply, retail sales reports

BANGKOK - Oil prices rose for a fifth straight trading session Wednesday despite expectations a report on weekly U.S. crude stocks will show ample inventories.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery was up 31 cents at US$92.85 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contact had risen 48 cents to finish at US$92.54 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's supply report will be out later Wednesday. Last week it said the U.S. supply of crude was 10.3 per cent above year-earlier levels. And U.S. oil production, at more than seven million barrels a day, was at the highest level since the late 1990s.

Data for the week ended March 8 was expected to show an increase of 2.3 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a drawdown of 1.5 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. government releases its latest monthly tally for retail sales. Analysts estimate that retail sales rose slightly in February.

"Housing is the one sector of the economy that seems to be faring well and one would have expected to see this reflected in the retail sales data," analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said in a market commentary.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, was down 11 cents at US$109.54 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose 2.4 cents to US$3.162 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose 0.4 cents to US$3.047 a gallon and natural gas dropped 1.6 cents to US$3.629 per 1,000 cubic feet.