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Oil price rises to near $93 after sharp drop

Pamela Sampson, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) -- The price of oil rose modestly Monday after sharp losses due to high supplies and weak U.S. employment figures.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 17 cents to $92.87 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 56 cents to close at $92.70 on Friday and was down 5 percent from midweek.

The price of oil fell after a weak jobs report cast doubt on the strength of the U.S. economy. The Labor Department reported Friday the economy added 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months. The slowdown may signal the economy will weaken this spring.

The U.S. Energy Department last week reported that crude in storage was at its highest level since 1990 even though refiners had begun to ramp up gasoline production to get ready for the summer driving season. Now the economy looks like it might not grow fast enough to churn through the nation's high supplies.

"The latest jobs data provide a useful reminder that this is still an uneven recovery in the US economy," said Caroline Bain, commodities analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

She expects oil prices to average less than $90 a barrel in the second quarter of 2013 "reflecting a comfortable market balance, lower refinery runs and only very modest growth in consumption."

Brent Crude, which sets the price of oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, rose 57 cents to $104.69.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Heating oil rose 1 cent to $2.919 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.8 cent to $2.871 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.8 cents to $4.153 per 1,000 cubic feet.