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Oil falls to near US$102 a barrel as US buildup concerns dim forecast

AP--The price of oil slipped Tuesday as expectations of a buildup in U.S. crude inventories dampened sentiment.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was down 49 cents to US$102.33 a barrel at 0755 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 62 cents to US$102.82 on Monday.

Oil rose Monday as another cold spell for the U.S. Midwest and Northeast was expected to boost demand for heating oil at a time when many refineries are undergoing seasonal maintenance.

Supplies, however, also appeared to be robust with weekly crude stocks on a rising trend. Investors are waiting for a weekly U.S. stockpile report due later this week that is likely to show further gains.

Some analysts expect oil prices to drop in the spring, when many refineries will be carrying out maintenance work, which is temporarily accompanied by lower oil demand.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell 45 cents to US$110.19 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cent to US$3.001 per gallon.

— Heating oil was up 0.5 cent at US$3.046 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 11.4 cents to US$5.331 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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