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Oil prices slide for third straight day

BENCHMARK crude for July delivery declined yesterday for the third straight day, falling 15 cents to settle at US$70.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Unlike the previous two days of trading, the dollar fell yesterday against most major currencies.

In recent weeks, the falling dollar has been one reason that money from Wall Street has flooded into energy markets and driven crude prices higher.

Analysts are baffled by the steady rise of crude because demand for energy has been decimated by the global economic slowdown.

It's too early to say if crude prices will fall soon, but there are signs that gasoline may be near a peak.

The U.S. average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline gained a half cent overnight to US$2.674 yesterday for the 49th straight day of increases, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That surpassed a stretch in early 2007 when prices moved up 48 straight days.

Prices on the Nymex may be heavily influenced Wednesday when the government releases the latest data on the amount of gasoline and crude in storage.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline for July delivery rose 1.7 cents to settle at US$2.0711 a gallon and heating oil fell less than a penny to settle at US$1.8250. Natural gas for July delivery fell 7 cents to settle at US$4.312 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude prices closed flat at US$70.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.


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