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Brent edges up towards $102

Tuesday, August 19 08:56:21

Brent crude edged up towards $102 a barrel on Tuesday, but stayed near a 14-month low reached in the previous session on weak demand and easing concerns over risks to supply.

Brent shed nearly $2 on Monday, as investor worries over conflict in Iraq eased, and as higher Libyan oil output added to already ample supplies.

Brent crude for October delivery had risen 33 cents to $101.93 a barrel by 0637 GMT, after closing $1.93 a barrel lower on Monday. U.S. crude for September delivery was 52 cents higher at $96.93 a barrel. The contract, which expires on Wednesday, ended the previous session down 94 cents.

The U.S. dollar gained against a basket of major currencies, while global equities also rose with Nasdaq hitting a 14-year high on Monday, supported by positive U.S. housing data and decreasing worries over Ukraine. A stronger greenback could drag on dollar-denominated oil.

U.S. commercial crude oil and refined product stockpiles were forecast to have fallen in the week to Aug. 15, a preliminary Reuters survey of analysts showed.

The analysts estimated, on average, that crude oil stocks decreased 1.5 million barrels last week. Distillate stockpiles were seen down 200,000 barrels, and gasoline inventories down 1.7 million barrels.

The survey was taken ahead of weekly inventory reports from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) due at 2030 GMT and from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) due on Wednesday.

Despite falling inventories in the United States, large crude builds globally in the second quarter is now reflected in the weak market structure known as contango, where prices for prompt delivery is cheaper than for future months, analysts at Energy Aspects said in a note. (Reuters)

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