- Crude oil prices in Asia fell early Thursday after a drop in U.S. supply failed to erase concerns about sluggish demand and resumptions of exports by Libya and traders said it was an abberation because a closure of the Houston Ship Channel between March 22 and March 25 limited imports of crude, prompting stock drawdowns.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oill for delivery in May traded at $99.31 a barrel, down 0.32%, after hitting an overnight session low of $98.87 a barrel and a high of $99.82 a barrel.

Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe fell 0.8% to $104.79 a barrel, a near five-month low, on concerns that a blockade on Libyan export terminals could end, adding supplies to the global market.

Oil ports held by armed protestors along the Libyan coast may soon begin shipments soon, which sent oil prices falling on expectations for global supply to increase.

An eight-month standoff between protestors and the government may end within days due to an agreement between both sides.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 2.4 million barrels in the week ended March 28, defying expectations for an increase of 1.1 million barrels, though investors shrugged off the news.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 380.1 million barrels as of last week.

The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.1 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased by 0.6 million barrels, confounding expectations for a withdrawal of 0.1 million barrels.

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