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Oil prices slightly higher
Oil prices continue to rise after Tuesday's strong gains
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Oil prices rose Wednesday after an industry group said U.S. crude supplies fell last week and hopes for a stronger economy suggested demand for oil may rise.

Benchmark crude rose 60 cents to $97.83 in New York. Brent crude was up 4 cents at $106.77 in London.

The American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories fell 4.6 million barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by Platts predicted a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

The Energy Department releases its weekly report on petroleum supplies Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday benchmark crude rose more than 3 percent on encouraging U.S. economic data.

Demand for crude in the U.S. has fallen as drivers cut back amid high prices and a weak economy.

Retail gasoline prices were little changed at a national average of $3.21 per gallon.

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