NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices fell below $96 a barrel Friday after disappointing U.S. industrial production data fed concerns about the nation's economic recovery.
In New York benchmark crude for March fell $1.45 to finish at $95.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price many varieties of foreign oil, fell 34 cents to end at $117.66 per barrel in London.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that U.S. factory production slowed in January, mostly because of a big drop in output at auto factories. Most analysts think the slowdown is temporary, but it was enough to raise concern about the still-sluggish economic recovery.
"Global growth will still be fairly weak this year, which will prevent industry from firing on all cylinders. But there's no denying that industrial conditions have recently improved," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
Heading into the Presidents Day weekend, drivers are still seeing gas pump prices climbing. The national average is $3.64 a gallon, up a cent and a half from Thursday, with the highest prices in California, the Northeast and the Midwest.