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Thinly Traded Crude Oil Futures Trim Gains

Crude oil futures trimmed gains in holiday-thinned trade on Monday, easing off a two-day high after the U.S. dollar erased losses against the euro following a warning by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on a proposal to rollover Greek debt.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in August traded at USD95.01 a barrel during European late afternoon trade, edging 0.25% higher.         

It earlier rose as much as 0.6% to hit USD95.48 a barrel, the highest price since June 30. 

Trade was expected to be slim as the NYMEX floor trading was to remain closed for the U.S. Independence Day holiday. Electronic trades were to be booked with Tuesday’s transactions for settlement purposes.

The euro pulled back from a one-month high against the greenback after Standard & Poor’s said earlier that a proposed debt rollover plan for Greece may place the country in “selective default” under the ratings firm's criteria.

The dollar index, which measures the performance of the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rebounded from a three-week low to trade at 74.64, up 0.06%.  

Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to fall when the dollar rises, as this makes oil more expensive for buyers in other currencies.

Meanwhile, Emad al-Ateeqi, a member of Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council said at an industry event in Kuwait City on Sunday that crude prices were likely to stay in a range between USD90 and USD100 until the end of 2011 due to the International Energy Agency's emergency stock releases.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for August delivery eased down 0.05% to trade at USD111.50 a barrel, up USD16.49 on its U.S. counterpart.

On Friday, influential Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs lowered its 2011 Brent oil average price forecast by USD6 to USD8 a barrel from its current forecast of USD117, as a result of the IEA’s release of supply from strategic reserves.   

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