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Oil prices steady at US$102 ahead of China's manufacturing report

The price of oil was little changed near US$102 a barrel Monday ahead of a Chinese manufacturing report.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 4 cents to US$101.63 a barrel at 0730 GMT in electronic trading o. the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 39 cents Friday to settle at US$101.67 and for the week gained 2 percent, propelled by signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S. and global supply concerns.

China is set to release official manufacturing figures for March on Tuesday that could cement expectations for new stimulus in the world's second-biggest economy.

Another survey released last week showed manufacturing at an eight-month low in March, which suggested China's economy is continuing to slow. Growth of 7.7 percent last year was the slowest in two decades.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was down 13 cents to US$107.94 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.7 cent to US$2.93 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 0.5 cent to US$2.94 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 3.5 cents to US$4.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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