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Oil prices decreased today as the dollar remained strong and fresh concerns were raised over a slowdown in demand growth in the US, which added further pressure on prices.

Brent crude plunged by 77 cents to $103.14 a barrel, while US oil dropped by 85 cents to $95.19, reported Reuters.

A stronger dollar has added pressure on oil prices as its strength made commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

According to a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Fed’s, the US economy is anticipated to expand at an annual rate of 1.8% in the current quarter, down from an earlier speculation of 2.3%.

In the survey, third quarter growth forecasts were reduced to 2.3% from 2.6% in the previous survey, while full year growth was expected to be at two percent.

"The factory production from China, however, is likely to have increased 9.5% in April from a year ago."

However, retail sales in the country are anticipated to have contracted for a second straight month in April.

Investors are now expected to keep an eye on the data of industrial output from China, expected to be released later in the day.

The factory production from China, however, is likely to have increased 9.5% in April from a year ago.

On Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) predicted in a monthly report that demand for its crude in 2013 will average 29.84 million barrels per day (bpd), up 90,000 bpd from a previous estimate.

OPEC, which will next meet on 31 May to consider its output, said global oil demand and demand for its crude will increase in coming months.


Image: Oil prices came under pressure due to a firm dollar, as its strength made commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / Michael Elliott.

Energy