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Oil falls slightly to near $94 a barrel

Pamela Sampson, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) -- The price of crude fell slightly to near $94 per barrel Tuesday after Japan released lukewarm manufacturing data.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 13 cents to $94.37 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.50 to finish at $94.50 a barrel in New York. Oil hadn't finished above $94 since April 10.

Data released by the Japanese government showed a slight uptick in monthly factory production. But the improvement was not as solid as analysts had expected. Robust U.S. energy production was also keeping oil prices in check, analysts said.

"We have plenty of domestic production," Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions said in a commentary. "The concern over these past few weeks about lower production was that lingering winter weather was going to hamper new and existing production."

Brent crude, which is used to set prices of oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, fell 33 cents to $103.48 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cent to $2.817 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 1.1 cents to $2.856 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.5 cent to $4.387 per 1,000 cubic feet.