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Oil prices trade sideways after mixed US petroleum data

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Oil prices were little changed on Wednesday after a mixed US petroleum market showing an unexpected rise in crude inventories and a dip in crude production.

[NEW YORK] Oil prices were little changed on Wednesday after a mixed US petroleum market showing an unexpected rise in crude inventories and a dip in crude production.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November fell 14 cents to US$45.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery, the global benchmark, gained 14 cents at US$48.37 a barrel in London.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) reported US commercial crude stockpiles rose by four million barrels to 457.9 million barrels in the week ending September 25. That was about 28 per cent higher than a year ago, keeping inventories at a level not seen in at least 80 years for this time of year.

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The consensus estimate was for US crude stockpiles to hold steady, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

In addition, US gasoline inventories rose last week, instead of falling as expected, while a decline in distillates, such as diesel and heating fuel, was far less than anticipated.

Traders found some positives in the closely watched DoE report as prices remain under pressure from the global crude glut and slowing demand growth.

US crude production fell by 40,000 barrels per day to 9.096 million barrels per day, the report said. Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub, the delivery point for WTI traded on the Nymex, fell by one million barrels.

Meanwhile, developments in the Syria crisis, where Russia launched its first air strikes on Wednesday, gave the oil market some support, said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

"It seems that the stepped-up activity in Syria with Russia getting involved now is, I think, generating some security premium," Mr Kilduff said.

"You have various countries' planes flying around... so even though there is no direct oil involved, tensions will be on the rise."

AFP

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