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Oil near $96 per barrel amid supplies uptick

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil fell Thursday after reports showed supplies of U.S. crude rose slightly last week.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 42 cents to $96.20 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1 to finish at $96.62 a barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.

Prices were soft after two reports released this week on oil inventories reminded traders that supplies are ample.

The American Petroleum Institute said crude supplies increased by 680,000 barrels to 389.1 million barrels. Separately, the U.S. Energy Department said oil supplies grew last week by 200,000 barrels to 395.5 million barrels. The increase undershot analyst expectations, leading to Wednesday's spike in prices.

Brent crude, which is a benchmark for many international oil varieties, fell 39 cents to $103.95 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.1 cent to $2.843 a gallon.

— Heating oil was almost unchanged at $2.913 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 4.6 cents to $3.932 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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