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Crude oil steady above $102 a barrel as traders await US supply data, possible euro rate cut

The price of oil was little changed above $102 a barrel Tuesday as traders awaited reports on U.S. supplies of crude and refined products.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was down 13 cents to $102.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Nymex contract fell 24 cents on Monday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 37 cents to $108.46 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

While the conflict in eastern Ukraine kept a floor under prices, increased output from Iraq and Angola, as well as renewed prospects of higher crude exports from Libya pointed to a well-supplied market.

Fresh information on U.S. stockpiles for the week ending May 30 is expected to show a draw of 2 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a build of 2 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute will be released later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on Wednesday.

An expected cut in interest rates by the European Central Bank on Thursday could weigh on oil prices, analysts said.

"A fall in the euro and a rise in the value of the dollar could prove a tipping point for the long-running crude oil price strength," said the Kilduff Report edited by Michael Fitzpatrick. As the dollar rises in value, commodities like oil that are priced in the U.S. currency become less attractive to international investors.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.89 cent to $2.941 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 3.6 cents to $4.648 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1.07 cents to $2.866 a gallon.


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