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Crude oil stays above $99 in thin trading

Benchmark U.S. crude for February delivery added 4 cents to $99.33 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Associated Press

12/31/2013

BEIJING  — Oil stayed edged up Tuesday to stay above $99 a barrel after shedding more than $1 a day earlier.

Benchmark U.S. crude for February delivery added 4 cents to $99.33 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It declined $1.03 the previous day after closing above $100 on Friday for the first time since Oct. 18 on U.S. recovery prospects.

While signs of an improving U.S. economy have supported prices, analysts note oil consumption in other parts of the world could be held back by a strengthening dollar, which makes oil more expensive for other countries.

Others noted that interest from financial speculators would help push oil prices higher.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained 6 cents to $111.27 after shedding 97 cents a day earlier.

Brent's decline was attributed to reports some of the oil production, refinery and export facilities in Libya — which has struggled to maintain production since the 2011 civil war that ousted Moammar Gadhafi — were back in business.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline held steady at $2.79 per gallon.

— Heating oil fell 2 cents to $3.06 per gallon.

— Natural gas added 1 cent to $4.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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