The price of oil fell for the first time in more than a week Monday, slipping near $107 a barrel.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for September delivery fell 36 cents to close at $107.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $4.06, or 4 percent, over the prior six trading sessions.
Meanwhile, pump prices held steady. At $3.54, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is 13 cents less than a month ago and 18 cents less than at this time last year.
The situation in Egypt has supported higher oil prices. The country has been wracked by ongoing clashes between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and the military-backed government. Nearly 900 people have died in the violence so far.
Egypt is not a major oil exporter, but there is concern that an escalation in fighting could spread to neighboring countries or disrupt the Suez Canal, a major trade route.
Traders are also waiting for clear signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve on monetary policy. It is widely held that the Fed will begin to reduce its $85 billion a month in asset purchases as early as September.
The Fed’s stimulus policy has lowered interest rates and made oil and other commodities a more attractive investment by offering potentially higher returns.
Brent crude, which is used to price imported crude used by many U.S. refineries, fell 50 cents to $109.90 a barrel for October delivery on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading:
- Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.07 per gallon.
- Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $2.93 a gallon.
- Natural gas rose 10 cents to $3.46 per 1,000 cubic feet.