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Oil holds steady below $100 on weak U.S. growth

BEIJING - The price of oil edged lower Thursday after falling below $100 per barrel for the first time in three weeks on slower U.S. economic growth and higher supplies.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for June delivery shed 1 cent to $99.73 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international oil benchmark, added 1 cent to $108.08 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

On Wednesday, U.S. crude plunged $1.54 and Brent fell 91 cents after U.S. first-quarter economic growth of just 0.1 percent disappointed forecasters who expected an expansion of about 1 percent.

The Energy Department said oil supplies rose by 1.7 million barrels last week. While the increase was less than expected by analysts, it still pushed the nation's supply to a record 399.4 million barrels. In addition, gasoline supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels, whereas analysts had expected a decline.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

- Wholesale gasoline held steady at $2.96 a gallon.

- Heating oil was unchanged at $2.93 a gallon.

- Natural gas was unchanged at $4.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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