Crude oil settled lower on Monday as investors took a breather following last week’s rally.
Weakness on Wall Street, increased political tensions in Spain and Italy and the rising dollar all drove prices lower.
Sentiment was hurt as pressure mounts on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign amid a growing corruption scandal. Meanwhile in Italy, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party won solid gains in polls ahead of national elections later this month.
Crude for March delivery fell $1.60 to settle at $96.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The dollar rose against the euro, making crude, which is priced in dollars, more expensive for holders of other currencies.
On the ICE futures exchange Brent North Sea crude lost $1.15 cents to settle at $115.62 a barrel.
Among precious metals, gold perked up 0.4% on Monday as declines among US equities Wall Street increased safe haven flows.
Gold for April delivery rose $5.80 to $1,676.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.