Oil prices settle mixed ahead of U.S. inventory data

NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices ended mixed on Thursday as traders awaited the official U.S. crude stockpiles data.

The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery lost 18 cents to settle at 53.13 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery increased 2 cents to close at 56.10 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is scheduled to release the nation's weekly crude stockpiles data on Friday. U.S. petroleum supplies data have been delayed by two days this week due to Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, and Wednesday's U.S. presidential inauguration.

The EIA report is expected to show crude inventories down by 2.5 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts.

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