Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Oil traded near the lowest in more than a week with investors betting fuel demand may falter as Europe struggles to tame its debt crisis and crude stockpiles increase in the U.S., the biggest consumer of the commodity.
Futures were little changed in New York after slipping for a second day yesterday. European leaders battled with Greece over a second aid program, clouding an agreement on a permanent aid fund and stiffer budget rules. An Energy Department report tomorrow may show U.S. crude inventories rose a second week, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Global oil markets are well supplied, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said.
Crude for March delivery was at $98.92 a barrel, up 14 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:05 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday declined 78 cents to $98.78, the lowest close since Jan. 20. Prices are 0.1 percent higher this month.
Brent oil for March settlement dropped 71 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $110.75 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate futures closed at $11.97, compared with a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.
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