Oil prices ease after sharp gains

AP News
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Posted: Jan 16, 2014 4:04 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Oil prices eased Thursday but remained above $94 a barrel after sharp gains a day earlier on improved demand in the U.S.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for February delivery was down 8 cents at $94.09 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.58 to settle at $94.17 in New York on Wednesday.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was down 44 cents at $105.83.

The U.S. Energy Department reported that oil supplies fell bigger than expected by 7.7 million barrels last week, the seventh straight decline. It was sharply above market expectations of a 1.6 million barrels decline.

The news pushed oil above $94 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time in two weeks. Oil prices have been weak this year amid concerns that ample crude supplies could put pressure on prices.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.86 cent at $2.6334 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 4.6 cents to $4.371 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil shed 0.44 cent to $2.975 a gallon.