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Crude Prices Inch Higher as Inventories Rise

Crude oil futures moved gradually higher Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories rose while OPEC+ is considering extending its production cuts into the second quarter.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for April rose 28 cents, or 0.36% to $79.15 U.S. a barrel. April Brent futures rose 30 cents, or 0.36% to $83.97 U.S. a barrel.

U.S. crude stocks rose by 8.4 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Inventories have been rising in the U.S. as the rate at which refineries process crude into finished products has declined in recent weeks.

Official data on U.S. crude inventories was due later Wednesday.

U.S. crude is expected to jump 6.8% this month, and the global benchmark is poised for a gain of 5%, over February. First-month futures contracts are trading at premium to later months. A premium for immediate over later delivery is typically a sign of a tightening crude market.