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Oil Prices Steady as Inflation Worries Limit Summer Demand Optimism

Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday after rising in the previous session as investors were cautious ahead of U.S. consumer price data even as expected summer demand increases supported the market.

Brent futures for August settlement rose 5 cents to $86.06 a barrel at 0440 GMT after gaining 0.9% in trading on Monday. U.S. crude futures for August delivery was up 6 cents to $81.69 a barrel after climbing 1.1% previously.

Both benchmarks rose about 3% last week, marking two straight weeks of gains. Gasoline demand is rising and oil and fuel stockpiles have declined as the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, enters the peak summer consumption period. U.S. crude oil stockpiles are expected to have fallen by 3 million barrels in the week to June 21, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Gasoline stocks were also expected to have declined, while distillate inventories likely rose last week.  “The surge in oil prices was triggered by an optimistic demand outlook and reduced U.S. inventories. With the Northern Hemisphere entering a hot summer and the upcoming hurricane season, demand is expected to continue increasing in the coming months,” said independent market analyst Tina Teng.

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