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Oil below US$102 on weak US economic data

The price of oil fell below US$102 a barrel Thursday as weak economic data in the U.S. suggested demand for crude could fall.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery fell 87 cents to close at US$101.50 a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 25 cents to close at US$110.44 a barrel in London.

Brent crude was lifted by the continued absence of Libyan crude from the market as a result of disputes at export terminals, and a forecast for higher global demand by the International Energy Agency. The Paris-based IEA raised its forecast for 2014 global crude demand to 92.8 million barrels a day, 65,000 barrels a day more than its previous forecast a month ago.

“While OPEC has more than enough capacity to deliver, it remains to be seen whether it will manage to overcome the above-ground hurdles that have plagued some of its member countries lately,” the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.

The average retail price of gasoline rose less than a penny to US$3.64 per gallon.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cent to close at US$2.964 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 10.2 cents to close at US$4.469 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1.2 cents to close at US$2.951 a gallon.

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