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Oil prices slip below US$100 as world awaits first steps of new Fed chief

The price of oil slipped below US$100 a barrel Tuesday ahead of Congressional testimony by the U.S. Federal Reserve's new chief.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 8 cents to US$99.97 a barrel at 0800 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil gained 18 cents to close at US$100.06 on Monday.

Investors are waiting to see whether Janet Yellen will consider a pause in the central bank's withdrawal of the monetary stimulus.

The central bank has embarked on a policy to gradually reduce its stimulus, which has helped shore up a number of financial assets over the past few years, including oil prices.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, edged up 5 cents to US$108.68 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 0.1 cent to US$2.746 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 0.1 cent to US$2.997 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 5.6 cents to US$4.635 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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