Oil traded near the lowest level in a week in New York as rising U.S. crude inventories outweighed concern that tensions with Iran will lead to a disruption in Middle East exports.
Crude was little changed after falling yesterday as record European Central Bank lending signaled the growing risk of the region’s crisis. Crude inventories rose 9.57 million barrels last week, according to the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute. A U.S. aircraft carrier, which Iran said it spotted during naval exercises, passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 27 on routine transit, the U.S. 5th Fleet said.
Crude for February delivery was at $99.73 a barrel, up 37 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:25 p.m. London time. The contract closed at $99.36 yesterday, the lowest since Dec. 21. Prices are up 9 percent this year after climbing 15 percent in 2010.
Brent oil for February settlement was unchanged at $107.56 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European contract’s premium to New York crude was $7.85, compared with a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.
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