Crude oil futures dipped in light holiday trade on Monday, hovering above the psychologically important level of USD100 a barrel, as prices were pressured by a slightly firmer U.S. dollar and amid speculation the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries increased oil production in May.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded at USD100.28 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, shedding 0.46%.
It earlier fell as much as 0.95% to USD99.75 a barrel, the lowest price since May 26.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against the euro, as uncertainty over how Greece's debt crisis will be resolved weighed on the single currency. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.14% to hit 75.08.
Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to rise when the dollar falls, as this makes oil cheaper for buyers in other currencies.
Meanwhile, preliminary data from OPEC showed that Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iraq increased their oil output in May to compensate for lost crude production from Libya.
Total oil output from all 12 OPEC members was expected to average 28.9 million barrels per day in May, up from a revised 28.79 million barrels per day in April.
OPEC’s next meeting is scheduled for June 8 in Vienna. Global financial service provider Barclays said that, “The trigger for the next move higher, in our view, could be the upcoming OPEC meeting on June 8, where the lack of a proactive approach to mitigating the shortfalls in the market could serve to significantly tighten balances.”
Losses were limited as markets focused on renewed worries over unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Violence escalated in Yemen, threatening to tip the country into civil war, while world leaders reiterated calls for the departure of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for July delivery declined 0.27% to trade at USD114.67 a barrel, up USD14.39 on its U.S. counterpart.
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