Oil prices edge further below $99

The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — Oil prices edged further down below $99 Tuesday after gaining more than $2 last week on signs of improvement in the U.S. economy.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery was down 20 cents to $98.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Last week, oil rose nearly 3 percent after positive economic news that the U.S. economy had accelerated to 4.1 percent growth in the third quarter raised expections of increased demand.

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Additional worry over strife in South Sudan that has seen oil workers killed and companies pulling out employees also had some analysts predicting the contract would top $100 a barrel for the first time since mid-October. However, the contract has been slipping since Monday as traders apparently deemed the fears had pushed prices too high.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, continued to rise, up 2 cents at $111.58 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.78 a gallon.

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— Heating oil also barely budged at $3.05 a gallon

— Natural gas rose 1.6 cents to $4.479 per 1,000 cubic feet.