Oil prices dip amid slowing US industrial output

Oil prices fell to near $95 a barrel in Asian trading on Monday, which analysts attributed to weakening US industrial production and continuing recession in Europe.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was down 25 cents to $95.61 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.45 to finish at $95.86 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, eased 14 cents to $95.72 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude, used to price many varieties of foreign oil, rose 14 cents to $117.80 per barrel in London.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory production in the US, the world's largest oil consumer, slowed in January, mostly because of a big drop in output at auto factories.

Traders were also concerned about a deepening recession across the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro. Their combined economic output shrank by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. The decline was bigger than the 0.4 per cent drop expected and the steepest fall since 2009.