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Oil falls toward $95 on US, Europe growth fears


Oil prices fell to near $95 a barrel Monday after US industrial production weakened and Europe remained mired in recession.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was down 25 cents to $95.61 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.45 to finish at $95.86 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

Brent crude, used to price many varieties of foreign oil, rose 14 cents to $117.80 per barrel in London.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that US 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.

Traders were also concerned about a deepening recession across the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro. Their combined economic output shrank by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. The decline was bigger than the 0.4 per cent drop expected and the steepest fall since 2009.

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