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WTI Crude Trades Near $99.50 After Erasing Advance; Brent Slips

March 24 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed in New York, paring an earlier advance, amid concern the closing of the Houston Ship Channel will disrupt crude shipments to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Brent declined.

The waterway, a key transit route for crude oil and processed fuels, has been closed since a fuel-oil spill caused by a March 22 collision. WTI pared an earlier gain of as much as 0.8 percent after economic data signaled a slowdown in American manufacturing.

WTI for May delivery rose 5 cents to $99.51 a barrel at 12:49 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures advanced as much as 83 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $100.29 earlier today. The volume of all contracts traded was 41 percent below the 100- day average for the time of day.

Brent for May settlement dropped 4 cents to $106.88 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 38 percent below the 100-day average. The U.S. benchmark traded at a discount of $7.37 to Brent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Moming Zhou in New York at mzhou29@bloomberg.net; Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net Richard Stubbe, Charlotte Porter

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