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Oil increases to just above US$102 a barrel

The price of oil traded around US$102 a barrel on Friday, nearly unchanged, as worries over supplies and geopolitical tensions eased.

Oil prices had slipped Thursday after spiking earlier in the week on lower U.S. inventories and tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose 2 cents to US$102.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract had dropped US$1.05 to close at US$102.07.

Lower-than-expected U.S. crude inventories in a weekly Energy Department report had driven prices up on Wednesday, but expectations of stronger growth in demand were later countered as gasoline supplies were nearly three times larger than predicted.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose US$1.32 to US$108.39 on the ICE Futures exchange in London Friday.

Oil prices were also under pressure from a downgraded growth forecast from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF now projects global growth of 3.4 percent this year, down from April expectations of 3.7 percent growth, as it sees economic expansion slowing in the United States, Russia and developing countries.

In other energies trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 cents to US$2.87 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost fell 6.6 cents to US$3.78 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil added 4.5 cents to US$2.92 a gallon.

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