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Brent Oil Trades Near 9-Month Low on Slowing Economy; WTI Steady

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Brent crude traded near its lowest settlement in nine months as Italy unexpectedly slipped into recession and the dollar strengthened. West Texas Intermediate was steady.

Italian gross domestic product dropped in the second quarter. The dollar rose to the strongest level in almost nine months versus the euro, undermining the appeal of commodities for protecting against inflation. U.S. crude inventories slid by 1.55 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before Energy Information Administration data today.

“Crude oil prices are heading into an exhaustion phase as the global macroeconomic picture looks fairly gloomy,” Myrto Sokou, senior analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said by e-mail.

Brent for September settlement traded for $105.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, 44 cents higher at 12:34 p.m. London time. It closed at $104.61 a barrel yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 7. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.30 to WTI. It closed at $7.23 yesterday.

WTI for September delivery traded 32 cents higher at $97.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 0.9 percent to $97.38 yesterday, matching the Feb. 5 close. The volume of all futures traded was about 40 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Italy’s economy shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter after contracting 0.1 percent in the previous three months, the national statistics institute Istat said in Rome today.

The U.S. currency rose against most major peers after Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said yesterday his fellow policy makers were becoming more “hawkish.” The dollar advanced 0.1 percent to $1.3363 per euro as of 10:42 a.m. London time after appreciating to $1.3349, the strongest level since Nov. 11.

Crude supplies shrank by 5.5 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net; Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net Rachel Graham, Bruce Stanley

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