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Oil price steady near $103 as markets await Fed minutes, news on production and supplies

Oil was becalmed near $103 a barrel Tuesday as traders waited for possibly market moving news on U.S. crude supplies, OPEC production and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy stance.

Benchmark crude for August delivery was up 2 cents at $103.16 a barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 8 cents to $103.14 a barrel on Monday in New York.

Oil was pushed higher last week by worries turmoil in Egypt could disrupt shipments through the Suez Canal and a report showing robust job growth in the U.S. in June.

Later this week, the Energy Department releases its weekly report on supplies of crude oil and petroleum products, the U.S. Federal Reserve releases minutes of its recent policy meeting and OPEC issues its monthly update on the oil market.

A large decline in U.S. supplies, or signs that OPEC decreased output last month could boost prices, analysts say. Additional insight into the Fed's thinking on when it should begin winding down bond purchases that have supported the U.S. economic recovery should also influence trading.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries, was down 15 cents at $107.28 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.2 cent at $2.881 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.7 cent to $3.734 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 0.1 cent to $2.979 per gallon.