Crude falls below $63 in extended sell-off

Oil prices fell for the fifth straight day Tuesday, with a barrel costing $10 less than it did just one week ago when crude hit a new high for the year.

Benchmark crude for August delivery settled at $62.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $1.12.

Oil prices had already begun to slide after peaking last Tuesday, and dismal jobs numbers last week from both the U.S. and Europe only exacerbated the fall.

The unemployment data dampened optimism about a quick economic recovery, raising new doubts about the global appetite for energy.

"This is a market that is looking for a reason to go back up and it just isn't getting it, so it continues to fade away," Alaron Trading analyst Phil Flynn said.

For months a weak dollar has brought more investment money into the oil market even though storage levels for energy products like oil and gasoline are very high compared with historical levels.

Stockpiles of gasoline have increased steadily for the past four weeks even though the country is in the midst of the heavy summer driving season, which includes the July Fourth holiday weekend.

Supply data coming from the Department of Energy on Wednesday is expected to show that trend only continuing.

The department said Tuesday it expects consumption of liquid petroleum products to contract about 3.3% this year.

Crude prices will likely average about $70 a barrel for the rest of the year, and the average retail gasoline price likely will float around $2.36 a gallon, the department said.

Oil prices have doubled since the beginning of the year and on Tuesday, federal regulators said they would examine whether the government should impose limits on the number of futures contracts in oil and other energy commodities held by speculative traders.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline for August delivery fell 1.76 cents to $1.7228 a gallon and heating oil dropped 2.9 cents to $1.5978. Natural gas for August delivery rose less than a penny to $3.488 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent prices shed 95 cents to $63.10 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

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