Oil Falls More Than $2 as Dollar Rally

Crude oil fell more than $2 a barrel as the U.S. dollar rose to its highest in more than a year against the euro, dimming the appeal of commodities as a hedge.

Oil climbed earlier on expectations that OPEC, supplier of 40 percent of the world's oil, will reduce output at a meeting in Vienna this week. Investors looking for protection against the dollar's decline earlier this year helped lead crude oil, gold, corn and gasoline to records.

Crude oil for November delivery declined $2.97, or 4 percent, to $71.28 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices, which have tumbled 52 percent since reaching a record $147.27 on July 11, are down 19 percent from a year ago.

The November contract expires today. The more-active December contract fell $2.48, or 3.3 percent, to $71.91 a barrel. The October oil contract rose by a record $16.37 a barrel when it expired on Sept. 22, as traders unwound positions and the dollar fell the most against the euro since January 2001.

Gold, copper and soybeans also fell today. Investors often sell crude and other dollar-priced commodities when the U.S. currency gains, undermining their use as an inflation hedge. The dollar climbed to $1.3079 against the euro, the strongest since March 2007, from $1.3344 yesterday in New York.

Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, said it favors a cut of between 2 million and 2.5 million barrels a day. Besides Iran, ministers from Algeria, Libya, and Qatar have said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to trim supplies when it gathers on Oct. 24 in Vienna.

Brent crude oil for December settlement fell $2.43, or 3.4 percent, to $69.60 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
10/21/2008 12:32:16 PM