Oil falls to 3-month low

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Crude prices fell to a three-month low in electronic trading Friday amid a stronger dollar, higher supply and an approaching expiration for the June futures contract.

What prices are doing: Crude for June delivery slipped $2.79 to settle at $71.61 a barrel Friday. The last time oil fell below $72 was on Feb. 5, when it settled at $71.19 a barrel.

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Click the chart for the current price of oil and other commodities.

Gasoline prices at the pump fell for the eighth day in a row, slipping to $2.883 a gallon from $2.890 the day before, according to a survey by motorist group AAA.

What's moving the market: Oil prices have been falling for the last four days, as concerns about economic instability in Europe have driven the dollar higher against the euro. A stronger dollar often dampens the price of oil, which is priced in the currency, as it makes it more expensive for foreign investors.

Reports of growing stockpiles of oil in the U.S. and lower worldwide demand for fuel have also concerned traders this week, who were counting on economic recoveries in the United States and Europe to increase oil demand.

Investors were also selling out of the market before the June futures contract expires Monday.

What analysts are saying: After oil prices were "beat up" since the Dow's near 1,000 nosedive and then quick recovery last week, investors who were holding on to the June futures contract are throwing in the towel to move on to July or August, said Phil Streible, a senior market strategist with futures broker Lind-Waldock.

Traders are also concerned about potential announcements out of Europe over the weekend and are getting out of the market on Friday to reestablish their positions on Monday, Streible said.

Oil has seesawed on concerns about Europe's debt problems for the last few weeks, and many developments, including the region's nearly $1 trillion rescue package, were announced on weekends.

"We see people squaring away and taking risk off the table into the weekend," Streible said. To top of page

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