File art PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil fell Wednesday as traders waited for European growth figures that might show the continent has emerged from a long recession.
Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 63 cents to $106.20 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 72 cents to close at $106.83 on Tuesday.
A relatively stronger dollar also worked against oil prices. Oil is traded in dollars and becomes a less attractive investment for holders of other currencies when the value of the greenback rises.
In recent days, the dollar has posted gains against the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, and the currencies of commodity-driven countries including Australia and Canada, said Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets. That could partly explain the falling price of oil in the face of brighter economic data from Europe and the U.S.
The U.S. government reported slightly improved retail sales for July on Tuesday, while Germany said its ZEW investor confidence survey improved in August. There are hopes second quarter GDP figures due later Wednesday will show that the combined economy of the 17 countries that use the euro has started growing again.
Brent crude, traded on the ICE Futures exchange in London, fell 67 cents to $107.81 a barrel.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Heating oil fell 1.4 cents to $3.034 a gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.2 cents to $2.808 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 1.2 cents to $3.297 per 1,000 cubic feet.