AP News

Oil price slips below $103 after strong gains


The price of oil edged below $103 a barrel on Monday, backing off strong gains made last week, when a stronger-than-expected jump in U.S. hiring suggested demand for fuels will increase.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was down 45 cents at $102.77 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract on Friday jumped $1.98 to close at $103.22 after the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added a robust 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than previously thought. The job growth suggests a stronger economy.

Oil has also been pushed higher in recent days by instability in Egypt, where Mohammed Morsi was ousted as president by the military last week.

Egypt is not an oil producer, but its control of the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.

The price of oil was weighed down slightly on Monday by the rising value of the dollar, which makes crude — which is denominated in the U.S. currency — more expensive for international investors.

Brent crude was down 81 cents at $106.91 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 1.1 cents at $2.8856 per gallon.

— Natural gas added 4.8 cents to $3.665 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1.4 cents to $2.9757 per gallon.


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