Oil prices fall below $81

Oil prices fell below $81 a barrel Monday in Asia as a month-long rally loses momentum amid a strengthening U.S. dollar.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 50 cents to $80.75 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.44 to settle at $81.25 on Friday.

Oil broke out of a year-long trading range between $70 and $80 last month, fueled by a rally in global stock markets and a falling dollar. But equities have faltered in the last few trading sessions and a recovering dollar is making oil more expensive for investors with foreign currencies.

The euro fell to $1.3886 on Monday from $1.3977 on Friday while the dollar slipped slightly to 81.26 yen from 81.43 yen. Most Asia stock markets were down Monday.

“Investors sold against weakness in equities and a resurgence in the dollar,” Cameron Hanover said in a report. “The economic data is not helping.”

Investors will be closely watching how a high U.S. unemployment rate may have affected corporate earnings. Apple Inc., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. report third quarter results this week.

In other Nymex trading in November contracts, heating oil fell 0.86 cent to $2.222 a gallon and gasoline dropped 0.38 cent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas slid 5.5 cents to $3.38 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude fell 55 cents to $81.90 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Source: AP

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