A stronger dollar, spurred by indications that the Federal Reserve plans to buy more U.S. government debt, placed downward pressure on crude oil Friday.
Oil for November delivery fell $1.44 to settle at $81.25 per barrel. The euro, meanwhile, was down 0.8% against the dollar; a weaker dollar typically makes oil, priced in dollars, more attractive to buyers holding other currencies.
Boosting the greenback were comments Friday from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said Friday that the Fed was prepared to take additional measures to combat high unemployment and the threat of deflation. Under this "quantitative easing" process, the Fed would try to stimulate the economy by printing more money to buy debt. By increasing the money supply, the central bank hopes the measures would make borrowing cheaper for consumers and thus encourage Americans to spend more.
Crude oil traded from $81.22 to $83.33 Friday, and it is down 1.2% for the week.
The November natural gas futures price, already buffeted in recent weeks by mild weather and abundant inventories, settled at $3.535 per thousand cubic feet Friday. The intraday trading range for gas was $3.55 to $3.68 Friday, and the commodity's settlement price fell 1.8% during the week.
The front-month price for gasoline declined four cents Friday to settle at $2.10 a gallon. November gasoline traded from $2.11 to $2.15, and it is down 3.2% for the week.
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