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WTI Settles Above $52 a Barrel on Wednesday

Crude oil futures finished with a slight gain on Wednesday as tensions escalated in the Middle East, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

November West Texas Intermediate crude added 16 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $52.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On the ICE Futures Europe Exchange, December Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 27 cents, or 0.5%, to end trading at $58.15 a barrel, its highest settlement since late September.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that U.S. crude supplies fell by 5.7 million barrels for the week ending October 13. That was higher than the forecast for a drop of 3.9 million barrels by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts, but below the 7.1 million-barrel decline reported by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday.

“Lower offshore domestic production due to Hurricane Nate, strong exports and subdued imports have been offset by refinery runs dropping by a whopping 820,000 [barrels a day],” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

Smith said the market was “positioned for a larger draw” which explains why it pared gains.

Back on the New York Mercantile Exchange, November natural gas settled at $2.854 per million British thermal units, down 3.7%.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will impose new sanctions against Iran to limit its oil export capacity. Last week, President Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with a 2015 international agreement to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief.