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Oil prices continue to fall as supplies grow

Oil prices extended losses Thursday as the outlook for supply remained robust.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 36 cents to US$101.93 a barrel at 0940 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell US$1.11 to close at US$102.29 on Wednesday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, inched down 1 cent to US$108.46 on the ICE exchange in London.

Oil has been falling steadily for more than a week partly because worries about disruptions of the oil supply from Iraq have subsided and Libyan oil is returning to the global market. Oil hit a 10-month closing high of US$107.26 on June 20.

On Wednesday, government data showed that a fall in U.S. oil supply was smaller than expected. The U.S. Energy Department reported that U.S. crude oil supplies fell by 2.4 million barrels last week. Analysts expected a 3 million barrel decline. The department had revised up its estimate for U.S. crude production for this year and next year.

In other energy futures trading:

— Wholesale gasoline inched up 0.3 cent to US$2.935 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.3 cent to US$4.173 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil added 0.7 cent to US$2.872 a gallon.

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