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Crude futures were slightly higher Tuesday morning in US trading after monthly inflation data calmed investor nerves boosting equities, while forecasts calling for more shale production limited the upside.

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At 1428 GMT, NYMEX April crude was 17 cents higher at $61.53/b. ICE May Brent was 25 cents higher at $65.20/b.

US unconventional oil production was expected to increase by 131,000 b/d to 6.954 million b/d in April, the EIA said Monday in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report.

Attention will turn next to weekly inventory data with reports released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute followed by EIA on Wednesday.

A survey of analysts by S&P Global Platts showed crude stocks were expected to rise 2.5 million barrels in the week to March 9. Gasoline and distillates stocks were expected to fall 1.3 million and 1.4 million barrels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 154 points higher at 25,332 early Tuesday as traders digest the latest reading on US inflation and news about the firing of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

The US Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in February, down from a month-on-month increase of 0.5% in January, the Department of Labor said Tuesday.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was 1.8% higher in February on a year-on-year basis. That year-on-year figure was unchanged from January.

"CPI came in on forecast. Financial markets were fearing faster inflation and so we are seeing the dollar ease and equities rally on the news," Confluence Investment Management said in a note.

In Washington, Trump said CIA Director Mike Pompeo would take over as Secretary of State, replacing Tillerson.

In other White House news, Trump said Tuesday morning that commentator Lawrence Kudlow had a "very good chance" of becoming his new top economic adviser after Gary Cohn resigned from that position last week.

At 1428 GMT, NYMEX April ULSD was 1.06 cents higher at $1.8753/gal. NYMEX April RBOB was down 37 points at $1.8903/gal.

--Geoffrey Craig,

--Edited by Dan Lalor,