Crude-oil prices slump, US demand down image

Crude oil prices fell by 0.26% in futures trade today as traders indulged in reducing their positions, tracking a weak Asian trend on concerns over Europe’s sovereign debt woes.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded at USD100.05 a barrel during European morning trade, shedding 0.68%. It earlier fell as much as 0.95% to USD99.75 a barrel, the lowest price since May 26.

The U.S. dollar came under pressure on Friday as expectations grew that the Federal Reserve would keep its loose monetary policy following a flurry of weak economic data.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, slumped 1.6% on the week to settle at 74.69 on Friday, the lowest level since May 10.

A CNBC poll of analysts and traders highlighted a split picture for near-term outlook. Exactly half of the 10 respondents are calling for higher prices this week, three expect prices to fall and two forecast prices to hold steady.

US data will again be the main driver this week. Oil market focus will be pinned squarely on Wednesday’s ISM manufacturing activity and May employment report on Friday.

Moreover, the Libyan rebels’ finance minister said Sunday that the oil fields located in the eastern half of the country under opposition control will resume production once it’s safe to send workers to the fields. He said he did not expect security to be established soon.