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Oil slips below US$104 as supplies set to increase

Oil fell below US$104 per barrel on Monday as expectations of increased supply offset strong U.S. job growth.

U.S. crude for August delivery was down 25 cents to US$103.81 a barrel at 0620 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sunk as low as US$103.70 on Friday before closing at US$104.06.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 2 cents at US$110.66 on the ICE exchange in London.

Crude fell despite signs the U.S. economy is steadily improving, which typically would increase demand. Employment grew by an unexpectedly large 288,000 workers in June.

Oil has been sliding since it reached a 10-month closing high of US$107.26 on June 20 due to concern about an advance by Islamic militants in controlling Iraqi territory. Since then, it has become clear that there are no imminent disruptions to supplies from Iraq, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) second-biggest producer.

On top of that, an agreement in Libya between the central government and a regional militia was expected to lead to the reopening of two eastern oil terminals that would boost the country's crude exports by about 500,000 barrels a day. Libya currently produces around 350,000 barrels of oil a day.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.5 cent at US$3.015 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 0.7 cent to US$4.332 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 0.7 cent to US$2.922 a gallon.

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