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Price of oil drops slightly after disappointing Chinese numbers

AP--The price of oil fell slightly Monday, after a report showed a fourth month of contraction in China's manufacturing sector.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery fell 28 cents to close at US$99.48 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, dropped 87 cents to US$107.72 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil prices were kept in check by new data pointing to a continuing slowdown in China, the world's second-largest economy, and the possibility of lower energy demand.

China's factory activity contracted again last month, according to HSBC's purchasing manager index, and the pace of the decline was more severe than a preliminary version of the report indicated.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to US$2.91 a gallon.

— Heating oil lost 2 cents to US$2.91 a gallon

— Natural gas added 1 cent to US$4.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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