Oil Slips toward $80 Threshold on Stronger Dollar, India

Crude futures tumbled nearly 2% on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday as a stronger greenback spurred traders away from dollar-denominated commodities.

Coming under pressure while a triumphant U.S. currency pared losses against the euro, the price of light, sweet crude oil for April delivery shed more than $1.50 to close on the downside at $80.68 a barrel. The energy commodity's April front-month contract is set to expire on Monday.

Meanwhile, NYMEX gasoline futures for April delivery also lost ground at the end of today's session, closing lower at $2.26 a gallon.

On the domestic energy front, natural gas spot prices at the Henry Hub traded against the oil complex's negative movement, as a fresh bout of commercial buying pushed futures slightly higher to $4.17 Mcf.

Today, markets were shaken by a surprising financial move by the Reserve Bank of India, which increased its interest rate by 25 bps, leading to speculation that India's increasingly thriving economy could potentially overheat alongside China's rapid expansion.

Financial swings in both developing countries could impact future global oil demand, a report by Reuters noted.

Oil traders have been eyeing broader financial movements, such as China's recent move to raise its reserve requirements and today's monetary policy tightening in India, as impetuses to sell off risky commodities.