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Oil prices extend losses as supply worries ease

Oil prices extended their losing streak as concerns eased about supply disruptions from the Middle East, with Libya exports set to resume and Iraq unrest not yet affecting exports.

NEW YORK: Oil prices extended their losing streak on Tuesday as concerns eased about supply disruptions from the Middle East, with Libya exports set to resume and Iraq unrest not yet affecting exports.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August fell 13 cents to $103.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its eighth straight day of decline.

Brent North Sea for delivery in August lost $1.30 to close at $108.94 a barrel in London trade.

"The Brent market remains under pressure from expectations that Libyan crude oil exports will soon resume and that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq will have little impact on oil output from the south," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch noted that both Brent had fallen for nine out of the last 10 days of trading, dropping below the $110 per barrel mark for the first time in almost four weeks.

Oil prices have tracked lower since last week when Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani said authorities had regained control of two export terminals blockaded by rebels.

The ports at Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra could add about 500,000 barrels of crude per day to global energy markets, analysts say.

Matt Smith of Schneider Electric said the reason why the price of WTI had fallen much less than Brent Tuesday was because traders expect the US Department of Energy's US commercial oil inventories report on Wednesday will show another fall in crude supplies

The DoE last week reported a much larger-than-expected drop of 3.2 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswire on average estimated inventories in the world's biggest crude consumer fell another two million barrels.

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