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Oil steady below $103 ahead of US supply report

May 29, 2014

The price of oil was little changed below $103 barrel Thursday as traders awaited confirmation of a large rise in U.S. crude stockpiles.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for July delivery was down 4 cents to $102.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the Nymex contract dropped $1.39 to close at $102.72.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 48 cents to $110.29 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The American Petroleum Institute said late Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 3.5 million barrels last week, while gasoline supplies fell by 1.4 million barrels.

That contrasted with expectations for an increase of 1 million barrels in crude stocks and a decline of 200,000 barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The report from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out later Thursday.

Internationally, prices were still supported by the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia rebels shot down a government military helicopter, killing 14 soldiers including a general. Ukraine is a main transit route for Russian energy shipments to Europe.

In other energy futures trading in New York.

— Wholesale gasoline was up 0.84 cent to $2.9965 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 0.9 cent to $4.606 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil added 0.25 cent to $2.9329 a gallon.

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