Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crude Oil Trades Near Lowest in Almost Three Weeks on Economic Recovery Concerns

Crude oil traded near its lowest in almost three weeks after falling amid speculation the U.S. economic recovery is slowing, reducing fuel use in the world’s biggest crude consumer. Futures dropped 1.2 percent on Sept. 17 after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary September index of consumer sentiment declined to 66.6 from 68.9 a month earlier. Prices also decreased after the American Petroleum Institute said U.S. gasoline consumption in August averaged 9.23 million barrels a day, down from 9.3 million in August 2009.

The October contract traded at $73.70 a barrel, up 2 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:30 a.m. Sydney time. It lost 91 cents to $73.66 on Sept. 17, the lowest settlement since Aug. 31. Prices are down 7 percent this year. Oil also dropped after the dollar gained against the euro, reducing the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment. The U.S. currency traded at $1.3044 a euro after rising 0.2 percent on Sept. 17.

Brent crude oil for November settlement traded at $78.22 a barrel, up 1 cent, on the London based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It fell 27 cents, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $78.21 on Sept. 17.

Reporter Ben Sharples can be reached at bsharples@bloomberg.net

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