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updated: 9/20/2012 7:15 AM

Oil slips below $95 despite BOJ monetary easing

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Associated Press

Oil reversed early gains and dropped below $95 a barrel on Wednesday, the third straight day of falls despite fresh moves by Japan's central bank easing monetary policy.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for October delivery was down 73 cents to $94.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.33 to close at $95.29 on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In London, Brent crude added $1.23 to $110.80 on the ICE Futures exchange.

"Crude oil prices remain under pressure, tracking losses across the equity markets as market sentiment has been hurt and risk appetite has been limited," said a report from Sucden Financial in London.

The Bank of Japan announced it was moving to protect the country's fragile recovery by extending its monetary easing. The central bank announced it would increase its asset-purchasing fund to 55 trillion yen ($700 billion) from 45 trillion yen, to counter the Japanese currency's rise. That followed moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to stimulate growth through so-called quantitative easing.

The move by the Japanese central bank boosted stock markets in Asia. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.2 percent to 9,232.21 -- its highest finish since May 2, but indexes in Europe were little changed.

Traders were also keeping their eyes on oil supplies as U.S. Gulf Coast refineries returned to production after shutting down due to Hurricane Isaac.

"We're getting back a few more refineries post (Hurricane Isaac), but on the flip side a few refineries had some restart issues and a few are headed into maintenance," said Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions in a newsletter.

In other futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline fell 1.45 cents to $2.7947 per gallon. Heating oil lost 2.39 cents to $3.1032 per gallon. Natural gas declined 2.1 cents to $2.752 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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