Oil falls below $80 a barrel as dollar strengthens

25 February 2010

Strikes at French refineries hit crude prices on 22 February

Crude oil prices fell back below $80 a barrel on 25 February, due to a strengthening dollar.

The US’ benchmark April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $79.57 a barrel, down from highs of more than $80 a barrel seen a day earlier, but up $2.77 a barrel from a week before.

In Europe, the Brent contract for April was trading at $77.76 a barrel, down from $79 a barrel the day before but $1.11 higher than on 18 February.

The average price for crude oil sold by the 12 members of international oil cartel Opec was $75.46 a barrel on 24 February, the last date for which values are available. This is up $1.13 from a week earlier.

Prices topped $80 a barrel in the US on 22 February largely due to strikes across France at refineries run by French oil major Total. It was the first time since 12 January that the price had been this high.

By 25 February, however, the price had slipped as the dollar climbed against the euro and the pound. The euro was trading at $1.34 on 25 February, down from $1.35 a day before, largely because of concerns over the finances of EU member state Greece.

The pound was at a nine-month low against the dollar, with £1 buying $1.53, after reports that the Bank of England was planning to print more money to boost the country’s economy.

Crude oil is traded in dollars across the world and appreciations in the value of the currency push oil prices down.

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