Oil price falls below $96 per barrel as rising dollar puts pressure on commodities like crude

Oil prices fell Monday as the dollar strengthened against the yen and other major currencies.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 83 cents to $95.21 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 35 cents to close at $96.04 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

The stronger dollar is causing oil prices to fall, analysts said. The dollar has risen in recent days against the euro and last week passed the 100-yen mark for the first time in four years.

Since oil is traded in dollars, a stronger dollar makes crude and other commodities less appealing to investors with other currencies.

"This, like the stock market, ends up pulling a lot of money out of commodities and into more reliable risk," said Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions in a market commentary.

Later in the day, attention will turn to China and its release of economic data, including fixed asset investment and industrial production. Traders will be looking for clues about the strength of the recovery in the world's No. 2 economy.

Brent crude, which is a benchmark for many international oil varieties, fell 67 cents to $103.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.9 cents to $2.841 a gallon.

— Heating oil lost 1.5 cents to $2.892 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1.9 cents to $3.891 per 1,000 cubic feet.