U.S. Oil Falls To $100 On China Bond Concern, Stockpiles


NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil prices fell below $100 per barrel for the first time in a month as the potential for more Chinese corporate bond defaults and rising crude stocks in the United States raised concerns about the growth of oil demand.

Oil fell more than $1 after copper prices dropped to four-year lows on worries that other firms may follow Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd, which defaulted last week.

Further pressuring the American benchmark, U.S. crude stocks rose 2.6 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute reported. That was more than the 2.2 million barrel build analysts had expected.

Traders will compare the industry group's data with the U.S. Energy Information Administration's official weekly inventory report due on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).

Brent oil futures rose on geopolitical risk as Western powers moved closer to issuing sanctions against Russia, and Libya's navy opened fire on a tanker after it had loaded oil at a rebel-held port.

Brent futures settled 47 cents higher at $108.55 per barrel. U.S. crude fell $1.09 to settle at $100.03 a barrel, its lowest settlement price since Feb. 11. The American benchmark fell further in post-settlement trade, holding near a low of $99.52 per barrel.

Brent's premium over U.S. crude settled $1.56 wider at $8.52, its widest settlement since Feb. 17 as the geopolitical risk posed by Ukraine and Libya drove traders to cover short positions. The spread narrowed to as tight as $5.44 on March 5, its tightest point in almost five months.


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