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Oil prices steady as demand falls in US

NEW YORK (iBBC News) — Oil prices are flat Wednesday following economic reports that showed U.S. factories are cranking into a higher gear while energy demand remains weak.

Benchmark crude slipped 8 cents to $98.40 per barrel in New York. Brent crude rose $1.02 to $112 a barrel in London.

Prices wavered after reports showed that energy demand remains weak in the U.S., but it could rise in the future.

The Energy Department said oil and gasoline demand dropped last week while supplies grew. Meanwhile, a trade group reported that manufacturing activity in the U.S. rose in January at the fastest pace in seven months.

Natural gas continued to slide back toward decade-low levels. Futures are down 4 percent.

Retail gasoline prices added less than a penny at a national average of $3.45 per gallon.
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