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Oil climbs to $103 as U.S. supplies seen falling

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery was up 71 cents to $103.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

By PABLO GORONDI
The Associated Press

5/21/2014

The price of oil climbed to $103 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed a large drop in U.S. crude supplies.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery was up 71 cents to $103.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the Nymex contract gained 22 cents.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, was up 25 cents to $109.94 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

A report from the American Petroleum Institute showed a drop of 10.3 million barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles, against expectations of a decline of 300,000 barrels by analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Supply data from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be released later Wednesday.

Supplies are seen to have fallen last week on lower imports and increased processing by refineries.

Oil prices were also supported by political instability in Libya, usually a key supplier to European refineries, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine between the government and pro-Russia separatists ahead of presidential elections on Sunday.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 0.49 cent to $2.9551 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 0.9 cent to $4.561 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 0.56 cent to $2.9515 a gallon.

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