Oil slides to near $70

Global events pull crude lower, along with stronger dollar and weaker equities.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil sold off Monday to settle near the $70 mark as the dollar rose, stocks fell, and a slew of global events put downward pressure on prices.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery sank $1.42 to settle $70.62 a barrel Monday. Prices had fallen as low as $69.58 earlier in the session.

Oil prices had been on a tear recently. On Thursday, crude settled at $72.68 a barrel -- its highest since Oct. 20 -- before giving back some gains Friday.

Global events: A disputed presidential election in Iran has sparked turmoil in the country, which is a major oil exporter. Reformist leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi's loss to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised questions of ballot fraud and led to street riots. Iran has agreed to a ballot probe.

Militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said on Monday it had sabotaged an oil-pumping station operated by Chevron. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer.

Meanwhile, officials at the Group of Eight finance ministers meeting in Italy expressed concern that the rise in energy prices could hurt recovery in their economies. The French economy minister said G8 officials wanted measures to curb volatility in oil markets, according to Reuters.

OPEC comments: A price of $80 a barrel would not hinder growth, the OPEC secretary general told Reuters on Monday, in response to worries that prices have risen too quickly.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries -- whose members produce about 40% of the world's crude -- have said $75-$80 per barrel is a fair level for oil prices, according to Reuters. Member countries have promised to cut 4.2 million barrels a day of oil from September production levels.

Other markets: The currency also market placed downward pressure on crude. The dollar rose after a Russian official at the G8 meeting said the dollar's status as the global reserve currency is unlikely to change in the near future. The price of oil often falls when the dollar rises, because crude is priced in dollars around the world.

A triple-digit stock selloff also pulled oil prices lower. The oil market has tended to follow stocks recently, as crude investors look to the broader markets to try to gauge when fuel demand will rebound.

Gasoline: The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline increased to $2.669, from the previous day's $2.663, according to a daily survey conducted for motorist group AAA.

Gas prices have increased daily since April 29. In those 48 days the average price of gas has jumped 62.1 cents, or 30.3%. To top of page

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