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Oil price holds steady near US$94 on OPEC forecast of high demand

SEOUL--The price of oil was steady Friday after an OPEC report forecast higher global demand for oil this year.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for February delivery inched up 3 cents to US$93.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 21 cents to settle at US$93.96 on Thursday.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, dropped 31 cents to US$105.44.

On Thursday, OPEC slightly revised up its estimates for oil supplies from non-OPEC countries, such as the United States and Canada, for both 2013 and 2014. It also estimated that demand would go up in 2014 compared with a year earlier.

Earlier this week, the price of oil climbed above US$94 per barrel for the first time in two weeks after a big drop in U.S. supplies spurred concerns that supply would be outstripped by demand. The U.S. Energy Department said oil supplies fell 7.7 million barrels last week, wider than market expectation of 1.6 million barrels drop.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.6 cent at US$2.605 a gallon.

— Natural gas inched down 0.1 cents to US$4.381 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was also steady at US$2.934 a gallon.

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