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Price of oil barely stays above US$100; natural gas prices soar on supply report

The price of oil barely budged Thursday as benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery slipped two cents to US$100.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. economic indicators were mostly downbeat on Thursday, suggesting weak demand, although a report from the International Energy Agency gave oil some support.

The agency raised slightly its 2014 forecast for global demand to 92.6 million barrels a day, 125,000 barrels above its previous expectations from a month ago.

Meanwhile, natural gas futures jumped 40 cents, or eight per cent, to $5.22 per 1,000 cubic feet. The U.S. Energy Department said supplies fell by 237 billion cubic feet last week, more than the decline of 230 billion cubic feet predicted by analysts.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell six cents to US$108.73 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose one cent to US$2.78 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and heating oil added two cents to US$3.03 a gallon.


The Canadian Press

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