Oil prices fall slightly to near $94 after Japan releases lukewarm factory data for March

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The price of crude fell slightly to near $94 per barrel Monday after Japan released lukewarm manufacturing data.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 8 cents to $94.42 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.50 to finish at $94.50 a barrel in New York. Oil hadn't finished above $94 since April 10.

Data released by the Japanese government showed a slight uptick in monthly factory production. But the improvement was not as solid as analysts had expected. Robust U.S. energy production was also keeping oil prices in check, analysts said.

"We have plenty of domestic production," Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions said in a commentary. "The concern over these past few weeks about lower production was that lingering winter weather was going to hamper new and existing production."

Brent crude, which is used to set prices of oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, fell 16 cents to $103.65 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.1 cent at $2.821 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to $2.857 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 2 cents to $4.372 per 1,000 cubic feet.