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Crude Edges Up Near $104

4/17/2012 7:12 AM ET

The price of crude oil was moving higher Tuesday morning after a report revealed that economic sentiment in Germany improved for the fifth straight month and Spain raised debt above its maximum planned target, albeit at a higher cost.

Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures for May delivery, edged up $0.72 to $103.65 a barrel. Yesterday, oil ended almost flat as investors weighed the prospects of a possible pipeline flow reversal earlier than planned, while demand concerns eased as talks on the Iranian nuclear program progressed.

This morning, the U.S. dollar was leveling off from its 2-month high versus the euro and moving lower against sterling. The buck was ticking lower against the Swiss franc, while edging up versus the yen.

In economic news, euro zone annual inflation for March was revised up to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent, final data from Eurostat showed. The rate was 2.7 percent in February. Inflation continues to stay above the European Central Bank's 'below, but close to 2 percent' target.

Meanwhile, U.K. inflation increased for the first time in six months in March driven by higher food and clothing prices, denting hopes of another round of quantitative easing. Annual inflation rose unexpectedly to 3.5 percent from 3.4 percent in February, the Office for National Statistics revealed. Economists had expected the annual rate to hold steady at 3.4 percent.

Elsewhere, the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) said Germany's economic sentiment improved for the fifth straight month in April The indicator of economic sentiment rose to 23.4 in April from 22.3 in March. Economists had expected the index to fall to 19.

Traders will look to the report on housing starts and building permits is slated to be released by the Commerce Department at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate housing starts for March to come in at 700,000 each, while building permits are expected to have declined to 713,000. In February, housing starts and building permits came in at 698,000 and 717,000, respectively.

Today after the market hours, the API will release its report on US crude oil inventories for the weekended April 13.

by RTT Staff Writer

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