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May 29, 2017

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Oil nears US$92 per barrel as weak demand, Iran tensions weighed up

BANGKOK--Oil edged down to near US$92 a barrel Friday in Asia, after a big jump the day before, as a weak demand picture was weighed against rising Middle East tensions.

Benchmark crude was down 59 cents at US$92.07 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged US$2.79, about 3 percent, to settle at US$92.66 in New York on Thursday, its highest level since mid-May.

Brent crude was down 47 cents at US$107.33 on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy trading, natural gas was up 1 cent at US$3.01 per thousand cubic feet. Heating oil was off 2.2 cents at US$2.924 a gallon and gasoline fell 1.9 cents to US$2.823 a gallon.

The oil market is responding to a series of events that have raised concerns that Iran will try to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway in the Persian Gulf through which one-fifth of the world's oil travels every day. The U.S. and Europe have applied sanctions against Iranian oil exports as they try to wring concessions from Tehran over a nuclear energy program they believe is a cover for eventually producing nuclear weapons.

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