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Oil up slightly as Fed, OPEC, supply data awaited

The Associated Press


NEW YORK — Oil followed stocks higher Tuesday as traders awaited news on U.S. crude supplies, OPEC production and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy stance.

In afternoon trading in New York, U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery was up 19 cents at $103.33 a barrel. The price has barely budged this week after rising $6.66, or nearly 7 percent, last week.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries, was up 8 cents at $107.51 on the ICE Exchange in London.

Oil was down about 35 cents when U.S. stock markets opened, then pushed higher as stocks rose. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 80 points to 15,304 in afternoon trading.

Last week, oil was pushed above $100 a barrel for the first time since May 2012 by worries that turmoil in Egypt could disrupt oil and gas shipments through the Suez Canal.

Commerzbank in Frankfurt said in a report that a quick solution to the Egyptian tensions is unlikely. "The situation remains tense in other Middle Eastern countries too, meaning that a lasting risk premium of $5-10 per barrel on the oil price is justified," the bank said.

Later this week, the Energy Department releases its weekly report on supplies of crude oil and petroleum products, the U.S. Federal Reserve releases minutes of its recent policy meeting and OPEC issues its monthly update on the oil market.

A large decline in U.S. supplies, or signs that OPEC decreased output last month could boost prices, analysts say. Additional insight into the Fed's thinking on when it should begin winding down bond purchases that have supported the U.S. economic recovery should also influence trading.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 3 cents at $2.91 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 10 cents to $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was flat at $2.98 per gallon.

Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at

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