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Oil becalmed above $92 as U.S. inventories rise

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil was little changed Thursday as an increase in U.S. inventories kept demand in check.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was down 15 cents to $92.61 a barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 13 cents to finish Wednesday at $92.76.

Crude inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 377.5 million barrels, according to the weekly report Wednesday from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. That was less than half the increase expected by analysts.

Still, supplies are 9.5 percent above year earlier levels, which likely kept traders' enthusiasm to buy in check.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, rose 18 cents to $112.05 on the ICE Futures exchange In London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 2 cents at $3.086 a gallon.

— Heating oil was nearly unchanged at $2.985 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.6 cent to $3.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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