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A Sri Lankan petrol pump attendant fills up the tank of an auto-rickshaw at a station in Colombo on May 25, 2008/AFP

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Oil market rebound before US energy report

A Sri Lankan petrol pump attendant fills up the tank of an auto-rickshaw at a station in Colombo on May 25, 2008/AFP

A Sri Lankan petrol pump attendant fills up the tank of an auto-rickshaw at a station in Colombo on May 25, 2008/AFP

LONDON, February 5 – Global oil prices recovered on Wednesday, winning support from firmer stock markets and the weaker dollar before the latest snapshot of US crude inventories, dealers said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March advanced 87 cents to $98.04 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for March rose 44 cents to $106.22 a barrel in London deals.

“Crude oil prices rebounded supported by a softer US dollar and strong gains in the global equity markets that increased risk appetite,” said analyst Myrto Sokou at brokerage Sucden Financial Research in London.

The weaker greenback makes dollar-priced crude cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies. That tends to stimulate demand and push prices higher.

Later on Wednesday, the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish its update on oil reserves for the week ending January 31.

Expectations of a decline in US crude stockpiles at its delivery port in Cushing, Oklahoma, have helped push prices higher, as a drop would indicate stronger demand in the world’s biggest economy, analysts said.

Traders said the market was boosted on Wednesday also as cold weather in the US lifts demand for heating fuel.

Winter weary Americans were braced for another massive storm that is expected to dump as much as a foot of snow and a dangerous mix of freezing rain and sleet on a huge swath of the country.

The storm was set to reach the east coast on Wednesday, weather officials said.

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