Brent Up, U.S. Crude Down In Volatile Trade; Stockpiles Eyed


NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) - Brent oil closed up on Tuesday for the first time in four days, supported by a weaker dollar and short-covering after its recent losing streak, while U.S. crude fell again on bets that inventories had hit record highs for a 10th straight week.

Traders and investors believe crude stockpiles in the United States rose by 3.8 million barrels last week to nearly 453 million, the biggest in at least 80 years, a Reuters poll showed.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, will issue its weekly inventory report at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), ahead of Wednesday's official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Prices were down most of the day, before a late rebound in Brent.

Rising output in Libya, and Iran's wish to export more oil once it clinches a nuclear deal that would remove Western sanctions, added to the pressure.

"All indications are there's too much oil in the United States, and it's growing, and that should drive prices lower," said Sal Umek at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

Even so, the downside in oil was limited by a weaker dollar to the euro that made commodities denominated in the greenback more appealing to holders of the single currency.


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