Oil slips below $100 ahead of Yellen testimony

The Associated Press

The price of oil slipped below $100 a barrel Tuesday ahead of Congressional testimony by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s new chief.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 8 cents to $99.97 a barrel at 0800 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil gained 18 cents to close at $100.06 on Monday.

Investors are waiting to see whether Janet Yellen, who was last week confirmed as Fed chief, will consider a pause in the central bank’s withdrawal of the monetary stimulus after a second month of weak hiring.

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Government data showed the number of jobs created in January was much lower than expected but unemployment fell to its lowest in six years.

The central bank has embarked on a policy to gradually reduce its stimulus, which has helped shore up a number of financial assets over the past few years, including oil prices.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, edged up 5 cents to $108.68 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

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— Wholesale gasoline was up 0.1 cent to $2.746 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 0.1 cent to $2.997 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 5.6 cents to $4.635 per 1,000 cubic feet.