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WTI oil edges higher ahead of U.S. supply data; Iraq in focus

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Shutterstock photo - - West Texas Intermediate oil futures edged higher on Tuesday, as market players assessed demand prospects from the U.S. and the supply outlook in Iraq.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in August rose 0.4%, or 42 cents, to trade at $105.80 a barrel during European morning hours. Futures held in a range between $105.38 and 105.87 a barrel.

U.S. oil futures fell to $104.66 on Monday, the lowest since June 12, before trimming losses to settle at $105.37, down 0.35%, or 37 cents.

New York-traded oil futures were likely to find support at $104.66 a barrel, the low from June 30 and resistance at $106.81 a barrel, the high from June 26.

Market players awaited key U.S. weekly supply data to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world's largest consumer.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later in the day, while Wednesday's government report could show crude stockpiles fell by 2.3 million barrels in the week ended June 27.

Government data released earlier showed that China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to a six-month high of 51.0 in June, in line with expectations and up from 50.8 in May.

Meanwhile, China's final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index came in at 50.7, weaker than a preliminary reading of 50.8 but higher than May's 49.4 figure.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery tacked on 0.16%, or 18 cents, to trade at $112.54 a barrel.

London-traded Brent futures fell to a three-week low of $112.16 on Monday as investors continued to unwind positions that had priced in the possibility of major supply disruptions stemming from the bloody Iraqi insurgency.

Oil prices have been under pressure in recent sessions amid indications Iraqi oil exports from the southern part of the country remained insulated from the sectarian violence that has swept the north in recent weeks.

Futures rallied to nine-month highs earlier in the month amid fears that an insurgency in northern Iraq would spread to the oil-rich south and disrupt the nation's oil production.

Iraq produced approximately 3 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC's second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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