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Oil hovers above $94 ahead of supplies report

Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press

The price of oil traded in a narrow range above $94 a barrel Tuesday as traders waited for new supplies data after a month of falling prices.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 16 cents at $94.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Nymex contract rose 1 cent to close Monday at $94.62, its lowest since mid-June.

U.S. crude stockpiles have increased in each of the past six weeks, mostly because of rising domestic production, and were over 10 percent above their five-year average near the end of October.

Figures for the week ending Nov. 1 are expected to show a build of 2.5 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a draw of 1 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its report on oil stocks later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on Wednesday.

Oil climbed above $108 in September amid the instability in Egypt and the civil war in Syria. It sank after that as Iran re-entered international talks over its nuclear program and rising U.S. crude stockpiles indicated muted demand.

Some support was now forthcoming from recurring production and export woes in Libya and political developments in Egypt.

"The ongoing delivery outages in Libya are preventing prices from falling," said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "The situation in Egypt is also likely to come back into focus given that the trial of ousted former president Morsi began (Monday), meaning that renewed conflicts between Morsi's supporters and opponents are on the cards."

U.S. economic indicators later in the week might determine whether oil continues to fall. The advance estimate of third quarter economic growth will be released Thursday and October hiring figures are due Friday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international crude also used by U.S. refineries, was up 19 cents to $106.42 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 0.3 cent to $2.5312 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 0.67 cent to $2.8808 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 5.5 cents to $3.39 per 1,000 cubic feet.