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Oil in holding pattern near $105 a barrel

Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 17 cents to $105.32 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 10 cents to $105.49 on Thursday.

The Associated Press

7/26/2013

BANGKOK — Oil was in a holding pattern Friday near $105 a barrel as growth in U.S. factory orders was weighed against signs China is pressing ahead with painful economic restructuring.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 17 cents to $105.32 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 10 cents to $105.49 on Thursday.

Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods rose in June. The increase suggests companies are more confident in the economy and could boost economic growth and demand for crude in the second half of the year.

But in a new sign China is reluctant to splash out on another round of economic stimulus, the government ordered companies in 19 industries from steel to glass to close some factories to reduce overproduction that has led to price-cutting wars.

Brent crude, which is traded on the ICE Futures exchange in London, was down 13 cents at $107.52 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Gasoline rose 0.7 cent to $2.993 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 0.6 cent to $3.034 a gallon.

— Natural gas shed 1.1 cents to $3.633 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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