Oil prices rise before US data

29th May 2014, Comments 0 comments

Oil prices rose on Thursday as dealers awaited the latest US supply report for clues about demand in the world's biggest crude consumer.

US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, climbed 22 cents to $102.94 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for July gained 37 cents to stand at $110.18 a barrel in London midday deals compared with Wednesday's closing level.

The Department of Energy will release its US stockpiles report Thursday, a day later than usual because of an American public holiday on Monday.

Crude stockpiles are expected to have risen 100,000 in the week ended May 23, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.

Last week's release saw an unexpected 7.2 million barrel fall, signalling improved demand.

Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at consultancy firm EY, said apart from US stockpiles data, "oil markets will be following developments in Ukraine and Libya closely".

Investors fear a full-blown conflict in the ex-Soviet state, a conduit for a quarter of European gas imports from Russia, will disrupt supplies and send energy prices soaring.

There are also mounting concerns about a possible supply disruption in Libya, a member of oil cartel OPEC, as it faces increasing political and security turmoil.

© 2014 AFP

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