Markets: Crude slips ahead of EIA data

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday ahead of the latest US weekly inventories data while base metals were mixed and gold consolidated around the $980 an ounce level.

In oil markets, Nymex July West Texas Intermediate slipped 53 cents to $68.02 a barrel while ICE July Brent lost 40 cents at $67.77 a barrel.

The US summer driving season has started and government inventory data, due for release later in the session, were expected to show a fall of 1.4m barrels in crude stocks and an increase of 400,000 barrels in petrol inventories, according to a poll of analysts by Reuters.

Nymex RBOB July unleaded gasoline traded fractionally weaker at $1.9176 a gallon.

Refinery utilisation was forecast to increase 0.5 percentage points to 85.6 per cent as refineries continued to step up activity to meet rising demand.

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