Oil falls to start week; pump price down to $3.70

Oil falls as traders expect more growth in supplies; pump price down to $3.70

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil fell Monday as the momentum seen at the end of last week faded.

The benchmark oil contract for April delivery slipped by 55 cents to $91.40 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil rose nearly 2 percent on Thursday and Friday on signs of strength in the U.S. job market.

Many traders believe the large supply of oil in the U.S. will keep a lid on the price.

Last week the Energy Department said that the nation's supply of crude is 10.3 percent above year-ago levels. And U.S. oil production, at more than 7 million barrels a day, is at the highest level since the late 1990s. Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, estimates that oil supplies grew another 2.5 million barrels in the week ended March 8.

Pump prices fell slightly over the weekend. The nationwide average for a gallon of gas is $3.70, down 9 cents from a year ago.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 80 cents to $110.05 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $3.17 a gallon.

— Heating oil slipped 1 cent to $2.97 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 1 cent to $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.

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