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Oil rises modestly to nearly $95 a barrel ahead of US government employment report for May

Oil rose modestly Friday ahead of the release of a key U.S. jobs report that traders will examine for clues to the health of the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 14 cents to $94.90 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.02 to finish at $94.76 a barrel Thursday.

The U.S. Labor Department will release its employment report for May later in the day. A good result is expected, following a drop in jobless claims reported on Thursday.

Oil prices were also being supported by a weaker dollar and a bigger-than-expected drop in crude inventories reported by the U.S. Energy Department and the American Petroleum Institute for the week ending May 31, said Matt Basi at CMC Markets in a commentary.

Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 17 cents to $103.78 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was steady at $2.851 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 0.8 cent to $2.879 per gallon.

— Natural gas dropped 0.8 cent to $3.819 per 1,000 cubic feet.