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Brent crude rose from the lowest level in almost five months amid concern that talks between the Libyan government and rebels won’t restore oil exports. West Texas Intermediate’s discount to Brent widened.
The European benchmark gained as much as 0.6 percent. The rebels’ Executive Office for Barqa, representing the region of Cyrenaica, denied a report that the group will cede one of the four ports that have been under its control since July to the government in a few days. WTI traded below $100 as U.S. jobless claims rose more than forecast last week.
“Libya is right on Europe’s doorstep and it has more impact on Brent,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “There are concerns about Libya’s ports and oil exports.”
Brent for May settlement gained 23 cents to $105.02 a barrel at 10:46 a.m. New York time on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 35 percent above the 100-day average. Prices fell to $104.79 yesterday, the lowest settlement since Nov. 7. The North Sea grade is used to price more than half the world’s oil, including exports from Libya.
WTI for May delivery declined 23 cents to $99.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 24 percent below the 100-day average.
WTI was at a discount of $5.63 to the European benchmark crude. The spread shrank to $5.17 yesterday, the narrowest level since October.
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