Oil prices continue to decline, dip below US$81

Oil prices have extended the previous session's decline, falling below US$81 a barrel on release of data showing a drop in US consumer confidence that has renewed concerns about energy demand in USA, as per Reuters. Nymex crude for April delivery dipped to US$80.96 a barrel. It had earlier fallen on Friday by 87 cents to US$81.2. Crude oil prices received little support from an International Energy Agency (IEA) report on Friday that said world oil demand this year would be slightly higher than previously expected because of growth in developing countries. Crude futures dropped Friday as conflicting signals about the U.S. economic recovery undermined the oil market. The US dollar was slightly lower against a basket of major currencies - dropping to a one-month low against the euro and a two-week trough against the sterling on Friday, as investors pared back large bearish bets on the two European currencies following strong euro zone economic data. Commodities ended their worst week in a month as mixed signals on the US economy brought prices broadly down a fifth straight session on Friday, prompting investors to await more crucial data next week. The following data is expected on Monday: - Japan February consumer confidence index - Eurozone Q4 employment data - U.S. New York Manufacturing Survey - U.S. February industrial production/capital utilization - U.S. Market National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index OPEC is not expected to make any fundamental change in output at its next meeting.
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