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Oil Prices Edge Higher Ahead Of US Stockpile Data

Oil prices were rising on Tuesday despite a flurry of weak business activity data from Asia and Europe.

Traders watched the latest developments in the Middle East after Israel escalated bombardment in the Gaza strip.

Benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.6 percent to $90.38 a barrel after having fallen more than 2 percent on Monday. WTI crude futures were up 0.6 percent at $86.02.

Surveys showed earlier today that Australia’s and Japan’s business activity contracted in October.

Eurozone business activity took a surprise turn for the worse this month, contraction persisted in the U.K.’s private sector for a third consecutive month and a measure of German consumer confidence weakened for a third consecutive month – raising concerns over fuel demand.

A modestly softer dollar and Middle East tensions supported oil prices, with the Palestinian movement Hamas insisting that it has 35,000 armed supporters in the Gaza Strip.

Investors also await the latest inventory data for further direction.

The American Petroleum Institute industry group releases its inventory data later in the day while the report from the Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday.

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