Oil hit as US stockpiles loom; WTI ends under $103


Crude oil prices slid for a second straight day on Wednesday as a stronger dollar and lower demand outweighed geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Libya and positive economic data in the United States.

An uneasy calm returned to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine after government forces killed dozens of rebels earlier this week, while Libyan oil output shrank again because an armed group disrupted operations at Hariga port. However, Libya's turmoil has largely been priced in, traders said, and they were focused instead on rising orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods and consumer confidence.

The gave up gains made earlier in the session to fall 20 cents under $110 as traders booked profits. U.S. oil fell $1.39 to settle at $102.72 a barrel, closing down for the second consecutive day.

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That data helped push the U.S. dollar to an eight-week high and made commodities like oil, which are priced in the dollar, more expensive.

Marathon Petroleum said its 490,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, was partially shut due to a windstorm. Since the refinery will use less crude while it is down, this put more pressure on crude prices.

Investors are also awaiting commercial stockpile data from the United States to gauge the country's demand growth outlook. U.S. commercial crude oil stocks and refined product inventories were expected to have risen in the week to May 23, a preliminary Reuters poll of five analysts showed. The survey forecast crude oil stocks to have increased 700,000 barrels last week.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, will release its report later on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), followed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) report Thursday at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

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