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WTI Trades Near Week High Before U.S. Supply Data; Brent Steady

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near the highest price in more than a week before supply data that will signal the strength of fuel demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London.

Futures were little changed in New York after advancing 0.7 percent yesterday. Crude inventoriesprobably shrank by 1.5 million barrels last week to 357.1 million, according to a Bloomberg News survey before data from the Energy Information Administration tomorrow. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak is due to meet officials from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna today.

“The EIA numbers will be closely watched,” David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone today. “You’ve got to keep an eye on OPEC. If the Saudis come out and say they have curbed exports, it may indicate they are trying to get the Brent price to about $100 a barrel.”

WTI for October delivery was at $92.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 23 cents at 2:35 p.m. Singapore time. The contract gained 65 cents to $92.92 yesterday, the highest close since Sept. 5. The volume of all futures traded was about 28 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have decreased 5.8 percent this year.

Russia Meeting

Brent for November settlement was 1 cent higher at $97.89 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The October contract expired yesterday after falling 46 cents to $96.65. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.10 to WTI for the same month.

Brent crude declined to the lowest level in more than two years yesterday on concern slower economic growth in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, will reduce demand.

Russia’s Novak’s meeting is an annual part of the Russia-OPEC energy dialog and was planned before the decline in oil prices, Energy Ministry spokeswoman Olga Golant said by phone yesterday.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles probably declined by 425,000 barrels during the week ended Sept. 12, according to the median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Distillate stockpiles may increase by 750,000 barrels. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release separate supply data today.

The API in Washington collects information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines, while the government requires that reports be filed with the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

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