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WTI Approaches Recent Highs as Stockpiles are Expected to Fall

“West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest level in almost two weeks on speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles shrank for the first time in a month, signaling increased demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Futures were up as much as 0.4 percent after rising yesterday amid signs of U.S. economic growth and concern that unrest in Egypt may spread and disrupt Middle Eastern oil supplies.Crude inventories probably fell by 2.63 million barrels last week, a Bloomberg News survey showed before a government report tomorrow. The American Petroleum Institute is to release separate supply data today. U.S. factory orders may have risen 2 percent in May, a separate Bloomberg survey showed.

“The U.S. durable goods and factory orders data is the main focus for the day and will be interesting to see after decent PMI manufacturing data yesterday that showed there is good growth in the country, especially in the manufacturing sector,” Myrto Sokou, an analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said by phone today.

WTI for August delivery was at $98.22 a barrel, up 23 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:13 a.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 160 percent above the 100-day average. The contract climbed $1.43 to $97.99 yesterday, the highest close since June 19.

Brent for August settlement rose 12 cents to $103.12 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $4.96 to WTI. The spread was $5.01 yesterday, the narrowest closing gap since Jan. 4, 2011, after dropping below $5 in intraday trading….”

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