Oil Prices Lower in Quiet Holiday Trading

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil fell slightly Monday during a quiet day at the world's energy markets.

Concerns over the political stalemate in Washington continue to be the focus of traders, with the price of U.S. benchmark oil down 24 cents to $88.42 a barrel in early trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"With politicians out on recess, sovereign credit markets closed and a general lack of vigor in seasonal markets, there's not much to chew on today with crude oil prices edging lower in decidedly thin volume," said a report from Sucden Financial Research in London.

The average U.S. price for gasoline rose 1.5 cents over the weekend to $3.247 a gallon. The price is nearly two cents higher than a year ago.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

  • Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 59 cents to $108.38 a barrel.
  • Natural gas was down 8 cents to $3.37 per 1,000 cubic feet.
  • Heating oil was down 2 cents to $2.99 a gallon.
  • Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $2.72 a gallon.

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