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Oil falls below $105 a barrel, has 1st weekly decline since mid-June


NEW YORK, N.Y. - The oil market cooled off this week following some lofty gains.

West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude, fell 79 cents to close at $104.70 a barrel Friday in New York. For the week, the price of oil fell $3.35, or 3.1 per cent, the first weekly decline since mid-June.

China, a major energy consumer, played a big role in this week's decline in the price of crude. Traders were concerned over the country's decision to press ahead with painful economic restructuring and forgo another round of stimulus even though growth has slowed.

Oil is still up $11, or 12 per cent, since June 21, when it fell to $93.69 a barrel. It broke above $100 on July 3 for the first time since May 2012 and peaked at slightly more than $109 on July 19. The rise was mostly due to falling U.S. crude stockpiles and increased interest from financial investors.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, fell 48 cents to $107.17 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon.

— Natural gas shed 9 cents to $3.56 per 1,000 cubic feet.



Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.