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Crude Dips Back Near 6-week Low

The price of crude oil was lingering near its 6-week low Monday morning as traders were concerned over demand growth amid speculation about strategic-supply releases.

Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures for May delivery, shed $0.56 to $102.46 a barrel. Last week, oil lost over 3 percent after the Saudi Arabian oil minister confirmed his country would be able to up oil production to check soaring prices. Oil prices were also impacted by a massive build-up in U.S. crude stockpiles as per the Energy Information Administration yesterday.

This morning, the U.S. dollar was trading flat versus the euro and ticking lower against sterling. The buck was mixed versus the Swiss franc and the yen.

In economic news, euro zone manufacturing downturn worsened as initially estimated in March, final data from Markit Economics showed. The Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 47.7 in March, a three month low, from 49 in the previous month. The final reading matched flash estimate.

Meanwhile, unemployment rate in the euro zone rose to a new record high in February, data from Eurostat showed. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 10.8 percent from 10.7 percent in January. The outcome was in line with economists' forecast. The rate was 10 percent in February 2011.

Today, traders will look to the results of the manufacturing survey of the Institute for Supply Management are due out at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect the index to show a reading of 53 for March after it declined by 1.7 points to 52.4 in February.

Simultaneously, the U.S. Commerce Department will come out with its report on construction spending. Economists expect a 0.7 percent increase in February, reversing the 0.1 percent drop in the previous month.

During the week, focus will be on March non-farm payrolls report to be released on Friday, the ADP's private sector employment report, the weekly jobless claims report and the results of the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing and service sector reports. These apart, the Commerce Department's construction spending report for February, the factory goods orders report will be eyed.

Also, focus will be on the crude oil inventories data from the API, due out Tuesday after the market hours, and the EIA due out the subsequent day.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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