Oil falls below $96 as parts of US set to thaw out

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm •  Published: January 27, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell below $96 a barrel Monday amid forecasts for moderating temperatures in the U.S. Northeast and anticipation for the next meeting of the U.S. central bank.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery fell 92 cents at close at $95.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Along with oil, the prospects of a break in the deep chill that has enveloped the upper Midwest, the Northeast and parts of the South sank the price of natural gas. Futures dropped 34 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $4.85 per 1,000 cubic feet, partly reversing last week's surge above $5.

"There did appear to be enough of a shift toward normalization (in temperatures) within the heavily populated northeast quadrant to spur a heavy dose of profit-taking," wrote Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, in a note to clients.

The Federal Reserve meets for two days from Tuesday. Officials are widely expected to reduce the central bank's monthly bond buying that has underpinned an economic recovery.

So far, the reduction has been minimal. The Fed has cut the amount of bonds it buys each month by $10 billion to $75 billion but many economists think the stimulus could end this year if the U.S. economic recovery gains steam.

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