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Crude edges higher as market bets on new U.S. inventory draw

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Shutterstock photo - - Crude prices rose on Monday as investors bet this week's U.S. inventory report will reveal a solid draw, while markets viewed waning geopolitical pressures with some skepticism.

In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil for delivery in September traded up 0.44% at $98.08 a barrel during U.S. trading. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $97.38 a barrel and a high of $98.56 a barrel.

The September contract settled up 0.32% at $97.65 a barrel on Friday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $96.55 a barrel, Thursday's low, and resistance at $98.67 a barrel, last Tuesday's high.

Investors covered short positions on Monday and bet that Wednesday's weekly U.S. supply report will reveal a solid draw.

Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories declined by 1.8 million barrels in the week ended August 1, beating expectations for a decline of 1.7 million barrels.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 365.6 million barrels as of last week.

The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 4.4 million barrels, confounding forecasts for a gain of 0.3 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell by 1.8 million barrels, stronger than expectations for an increase of 0.9 million barrels.

Fears of supply disruptions in Russia and in the Middle East waned on Monday, though investors still priced in the possibility that military conflicts could heat up anew.

Russia has ended the military exercises it was conducting near the Ukraine border, which brought relief to global stock markets and capped oil's advance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is working with the International Red Cross to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Meanwhile in the Middle East, a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza took effect on Sunday, while a U.S. decision to launch airstrikes in Iraq to halt a Sunni insurgency pressured oil lower by easing concerns the conflict would disrupt supply.

Still, lulls in conflicts have happened in the past, and investors priced in the possibilities that flare ups were possible in Ukraine and in the Middle East.

Separately, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for October delivery were down 0.12% and trading at US$105.50 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.42 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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