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Brent futures were steady today, trading near a six-week high of more than $110 a barrel amid uncertainties over a deal that was signed to avert the conflict in Ukraine. However, prices were weighed by the forecast of a gain in US crude stockpiles.

Brent crude was down by 12 cents to settle at $109.83 a barrel, while US oil dropped by 12 cents to $104.25, reported Reuters.

US and European officials are considering the expansion of sanctions against Russia, as separatists in eastern Ukraine refuse to leave government buildings they have occupied.

An accord was signed in Geneva last week between the US, Moscow, Kiev and the EU, aimed at easing tensions between Russia and the West.

Both sides have accused the other of breaching the EU-backed deal, while supporters of Moscow showed no intent of withdrawing from occupied buildings.

Traders are awaiting the latest US inventory data, which could provide some hints on the demand outlook of the world’s biggest consumer.

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By GlobalData
"Meanwhile, talks with Iran aimed at ending Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme are in progress."

According to a Reuters survey, which was taken ahead of weekly inventory reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), US commercial crude inventories rose by 2.7 million barrels in the week ending 18 April 2014.

Meanwhile, talks with Iran aimed at ending Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme are in progress.

Iran has admitted that it reshuffled the leadership of its atomic agency to sideline nuclear experts opposed to talks on its atomic programme with the West.

Image: Traders now await the latest US inventory data. Photo: courtesy of sakhorn38 at