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US oil ends higher after US data helps demand outlook

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U.S. oil rose on Thursday, boosted by strong U.S. data, but ample supply and a refinery fire in the United States contained prices.

OECD oil inventories rose sharply in the second quarter, while tit-for-tat sanctions between the European Union and Russia have curbed growth in Europe, Nunan said. Hopes that the presidents of Russia and Ukraine could reach a ceasefire deal dimmed after Ukraine accused Russia of launching a new military incursion across its eastern border on Wednesday, which boosted crude modestly.

Global oil supply is expected to exceed demand this year, cooling prices. Oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic Basin are on track to post a second monthly decline.

October Brent crude has been unable to break through the $102–$103 range this week, just off a 14-month low hit last week. On Thursday, Brent fell by 30 cents to trade under $103.

U.S. crude slipped early in the day on news of the fire at BP's largest refinery in the United States. The October contract recovered to trade up 67 cents, settling at $94.55 a barrel, reacting to data showing a drop in jobless claims and better than expected second quarter growth.

Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp, said: "There's just too much supply and we've had terrible demand."

U.S. crude stocks fell 2.1 million barrels last week, more than expected as refineries processed more, but inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub rose 508,000 barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

--By Reuters

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