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WTI Oil Trades Near One-Month Low as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Rise

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate traded near the lowest price in more than a month after a report showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose. The government announced a test sale of Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil.

Futures were little changed in New York after falling the most in more than two months yesterday. Crude supplies expanded by 6.18 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, more than triple the 2 million barrel gain forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The government said it plans to offer 5 million barrels from the reserve in a test of the distribution system.

WTI for April delivery was at $98.13 a barrel, up 14 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:47 a.m. Sydney time. The contract tumbled 2 percent to $97.99 yesterday, the most since Jan. 2 and the lowest settlement since Feb. 6. The volume of all futures traded was about 61 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for April settlement dropped 53 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $108.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $10.03 to WTI.

The sale of less than 1 percent of the total Strategic Petroleum Reserve stockpile has been scheduled for some time and isn’t tied to turmoil in Ukraine or other geopolitical events, said William Gibbons, an Energy Department spokesman.

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