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Oil falls toward $95 a barrel amid concerns over European economy, US industrial production

The price of oil fell to near $95 a barrel Monday after U.S. industrial production weakened and Europe remained mired in recession.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was down 25 cents to $95.61 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.45 to finish at $95.86 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

Brent crude, used to price many varieties of foreign oil, rose 14 cents to $117.80 per barrel in London.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that U.S. factory production slowed in January, mostly because of a big drop in output at auto factories. Most analysts think the slowdown is temporary, but it was enough to raise concern about the still-sluggish economic recovery.

Traders were also concerned about a deepening recession across the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro. Their combined economic output shrank by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. The decline was bigger than the 0.4 percent drop expected and the steepest fall since 2009.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Heating oil was down 0.4 cent to $3.207 a gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cent to $3.324 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to $3.148 per 1,000 cubic feet.