U.S. government spending cuts weigh on oil prices
The price of oil hovered below $91 a barrel on Monday as markets continued to digest the introduction in the U.S. of automatic government spending cuts which could hurt the world's leading economy.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for April delivery was up 6 cents to $90.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract fell $1.37 to close at $90.68 a barrel on the Nymex, its lowest close this year. Earlier on Monday, it slipped as low as $90.09 before recovering.
Spending cuts of roughly $85 billion automatically kicked in on Friday after President Barack Obama and Congress failed to meet a deadline for striking a deal to avert or soften the reductions. Negotiations on Sunday ended in a bitter impasse, and what happens next is anyone's guess.
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