Oil Slips on Stronger Dollar as Rate Hike Looms

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By Brendel Balaga

Oil prices were slightly lower on Monday, as market players locked in gains from a recent rally which boosted prices above the $50-level.

Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil futures breached the $50 level last week as traders eyed production outages in Nigeria, France, Canada and Venezuela. Oil prices were last seen near the $50 level in October last year.

Meanwhile, the dollar rose to its highest level in more than 60 days against a bunch of major currencies on Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted of a near-term rate hike.

In a speech at Harvard University on Friday, Yellen said a rate hike “would be appropriate,” if the U.S. economy and labor market continue to improve as expected.

Crude oil for July delivery in New York slumped 14 cents, or 0.28%, to trade lower at $49.19 a barrel by 3:52AM ET.

Trading volumes are expected to be light today as markets were closed due to a public holiday.

On the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil for August delivery shed 25 cents, or 0.5%, to also trade lower at $49.70 a barrel.

Brent futures prices have recovered by approximately 85% since briefly dipping below $30 a barrel in February.

In related news, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are scheduled to meet in Vienna on June 2.

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