NEW YORK—Crude-oil futures traded near $100 a barrel, pulled higher by a decline in Libya’s oil output as the market ignored a modest rise in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery recently traded $1.05, or 1.2%, higher at $99.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising to $103.41 earlier in the session, the highest price since September 2008. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose $2.56 to $113.81 a barrel after hitting a 2½-year high of $119.79.
Growing violence in Libya and worries unrest could spread further across the Middle East remained the focal point of the oil market. Still, traders looked to a smaller-than-anticipated rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and surprise declines in inventories of gasoline and other fuels to help buoy confidence that oil prices will continue higher.
U.S. oil inventories rose by 800,000 barrels last week, according to data from the Department of Energy. Gasoline inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels, while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.3 million barrels.
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