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WTI oil trades near 3-week high

West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest price in three weeks, after an industry report showed distillate fuel stockpiles declined in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures were little changed in New York after advancing 1.9 percent Tuesday, the most since Dec. 3.

Distillate supplies, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, shrank by 2.29 million barrels last week, said the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute.

A government report Wednesday may show they slid by 500,000 barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Crude inventories rose by 4.86 million, the API said.

WTI for March delivery was at $96.63 a barrel, down 10 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:53 a.m. Sydney time.

The contract climbed $1.76 to $96.73 Wednesday, the highest close since Dec. 31. The volume of all futures traded was about 82 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for March settlement increased $1.54, or 1.4 percent, to $108.27 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange Tuesday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $11.54 to WTI.

An Energy Information Administration report Wednesday is forecast to show crude stockpiles increased by 1.15 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in the Bloomberg survey.

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