West TX Oil Steady Near $103.50

U.S. crude held steady above $104 a barrel in early Asian trade on Tuesday, with worries over escalating geopolitical tension balanced by expectations of large draws in U.S. oil stockpiles.  U.S. crude for August delivery traded 6 cents higher at $104.65 a barrel by 0000 GMT. The August contract expires on Tuesday.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories are likely to have dropped in the week to July 18, while product stockpiles rose, a preliminary Reuters survey of four analysts said on Monday.

The analysts estimated, on average, that crude oil stocks fell 2.8 million barrels last week. The survey was taken ahead of weekly inventory reports from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) and from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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