Crude oil prices gain as equity markets progress in Asia

Crude for September delivery rose to US$82.4 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for September settlement settled at US$81.9. Crude oil prices have increased, as rising equities and a weak dollar prompted traders to buy back previously sold contracts. The dollar traded near its weakest level vsthe euro in over three months, boosting speculative demand for commodities. Oil prices dipped midweek, after the rising jobless claims drove concerns that a slowing economic recovery will curb demand for fuel. An Energy Department report showed crude supplies in the U.S. Midwest surged to a record as nationwide fuel stockpiles rose. Overall U.S. inventories fell by 2.8 mln barrels in the week ended July 30 after a drawdown in the U.S. Gulf Coast region offset the builds in the center of the country and in the West Coast. OPEC plans to reduce shipments this month as refineries close for maintenance, OPEC will ship 23.33 mln bpd in the four weeks to Aug. 21, down 1.8% from 23.75 mln bpd in the month ended July 24.
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