Crude oil falls below US$103 barrel; down 1.6% for the week on amble supplies

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The price of oil fell below US$103 per barrel Friday on ample supplies of crude and fuels.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery fell 87 cents to close at US$102.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed down 1.6 per cent for the week, though it finished the month up nearly three per cent.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 56 cents to close at US$109.41 a barrel in London.

The price of crude was pulled down in part by the falling prices of wholesale gasoline and heating oil, suggesting that the U.S. has ample supplies of refined fuels. That could crimp demand for crude oil in coming weeks.

Crude supplies in the U.S. are also plentiful, but crude prices were pushed higher during the month because inventories at the U.S. trading hub where benchmark crude is priced had fallen sharply.

Next week traders are expected to focus on a string of macroeconomic reports, including a manufacturing report and employment data that could change expectations for gasoline, diesel and crude demand.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex: wholesale gasoline fell 2.4 cents to close at US$2.972 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil fell 3.2 cents to US$2.888 a gallon and natural gas fell 1.7 cents to close at US$4.542 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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