The price of oil edged downward again on Friday, surrendering most of the gains made the previous day, when it rose for the first time in two weeks.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 38 cents to $102.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract closed up 64 cents at $102.93.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was 62 cents to $108.05 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Oil prices shot up in the last month to a 10-month high over concerns that strife in Iraq might disrupt supplies. However, they have since been easing back as al-Qaida-inspired militants' gains in Iraq did not affect oil exporters.
Also putting downward pressure on prices is the prospect of a sudden return of Libyan oil to the global market. Libyan exports have been all but cut off over the last several months because of labor and political strife that has shut ports and disrupted production. Agreements with local militias are now expected to open two ports, and a major field restarted production Tuesday.
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