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Crude ends lower as profit-taking squelches rally

Crude oil futures shrugged off a barrage of threats and demands between Western powers and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, slipping ahead of the weekend on profit taking and healthy supplies in North America.

Record-high stockpiles of crude oil in the United States revealed by government data on Wednesday weighed on U.S. benchmark crude futures, which are less susceptible to geopolitical risk and fears of supply squeezes in Europe.

Source: Denver International Airport

Brent crude lost over a dollar a barrel at one point, paring some of those losses to trade off 70 cents near $110. The contract was still set to post a third week of gains in its longest such streak since September. U.S. oil tumbled by $1.34 lower to settle at $100.60.

The United States, Germany and Britain all indicated they would seek further sanctions against Russia after separatists in Ukraine held on to control of several towns and on Friday detained a bus carrying international observers.

Russia meanwhile warned Kiev it would face justice for a "bloody crime'' in eastern Ukraine, where government forces killed five separatists, and told Germany violence by Ukraine's army and "armed radical nationalists'' must cease.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, one of the closest European allies of Russia, said she saw no support of a peace accord agreed to last week from Moscow and so must consider more sanctions, a view later repeated by Britain.

In the U.S. market the supply-demand picture is bearish, with inventories in the country climbing to their highest levels on record as production of oil continues to soar and has no outlet out of the country via exports, which are banned. News from Libya was supportive for Brent, with reports its oil ports may stay shut longer than expected.

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