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Oil near $88 ahead of US inventory figures

The price of oil has fallen from near $106 a barrel nearly three months ago as the world's major economies slow in unison. Europe is mired in its deepening debt crisis, China's breakneck growth has waned and the U.S. recovery has stumbled.

The Associated Press

7/25/2012

BANGKOK — Oil was little changed near $88 a barrel Wednesday in Asia ahead of weekly U.S. crude inventory figures that give a reading on the state of near-term demand for fuel.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 31 cents at $88.14 a barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents to end Tuesday at $88.50 per barrel in New York.

Brent crude was down 24 cents at $103.18 on the ICE futures exchange in London.

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The price of oil has fallen from near $106 a barrel nearly three months ago as the world's major economies slow in unison. Europe is mired in its deepening debt crisis, China's breakneck growth has waned and the U.S. recovery has stumbled.

Data Tuesday from China suggested that stimulus measures are starting to help manufacturers but the global economy is not out of the woods and remains vulnerable to further shocks from Europe.

The U.S. Department of Energy is set to release weekly fuel stockpile figures on Wednesday. Data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday suggested that the DOE figures will show a rise in U.S. crude inventories, which would suggest demand remains weak.

Energy analysts at The Schork Report said an increase in inventories is likely to keep oil under $90 a barrel this week.

In other energy futures trading, natural gas was down 2.5 cents at $3.162 per 1,000 cubic feet. Gasoline fell 1.7 cents to $2.709 a gallon and heating oil dropped 1 cent to $2.816 a gallon.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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