The price of oil hovered below $96 a barrel Monday, weighed by data released late last week which showed that U.S. industrial production weakened and Europe remained mired in recession.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for March delivery was down 17 cents to $95.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.45 on Friday.
Trading volume was lower than usual as floor trading, like U.S. financial markets, was closed for the Presidents Day holiday.
Investor sentiment has been subdued since 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.