Price of oil posts slight gain but stays close to $93 a barrel on improving US economy

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The price of oil rose slightly Thursday as data pointing toward an improvement in the U.S. economy raised expectations of an increase in energy demand.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 3 cents to $93.16 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.88 to close at $93.13 a barrel on Wednesday on concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may ease up on its stimulus measures and that the Wall Street rally was cooling.

Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions said that he believes U.S. economic indicators make a convincing case for recovery and that energy demand will grow in step with an improving economy.

On Tuesday, reports showed that consumer confidence was stronger and home prices were rising at their fastest rate in seven years.

"I think the US economy is in a good position and looking better week by week. I also think that demand is just around the corner," Larry said in a market commentary.

Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 32 cents to $102.75 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline dropped 0.5 cent to $2.793 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 0.2 cent to $2.867 per gallon.

— Natural gas shed 0.4 cent to $4.175 per 1,000 cubic feet.