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Oil down slightly ahead of EU summit conclusion

BANGKOK--Oil prices fell slightly Friday as traders awaited the end of a two-day European Union summit on shoring up the region's stricken banks.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was down 12 cents to US$91.98 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 2 cents to finish at US$92.10 a barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

Brent crude, which many U.S. refiners use to make gasoline, rose 33 cents to US$112.72 in London.

In other energy trading in New York:

— Heating oil rose 1.2 cents to US$3.179 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.8 cent to US$2.753 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.8 cent to US$3.579 per 1,000 cubic feet.

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels reached an agreement Thursday to create a banking supervisor for the 17 countries that use the euro currency, a step seen as vital toward stabilizing scores of troubled banks and helping to resolve the region's debt crisis.

But they are still tussling over how much power to cede to central authorities to ensure the debt crisis never repeats itself.

“I think now traders are just positioned waiting to see whether there will be news of significance from the euro leaders' summit,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

Competing forces are preventing crude prices from bounding up or down, Spooner said.

“There's been some reasonably supportive news for the prospect of economic growth in the U.S. and possibly China,” he said. “On the other, the supply outlook is reasonably negative for price in terms of inventories continuing to go up and demand levels being comfortably covered by supplies.”

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