Oil futures slid further downhill in electronic trade early Monday, with a rising dollar helping weigh on the commodity. Benchmark Nymex crude futures for February fell by $1.07, or 2%, to $51.62 a barrel on the Globex platform. The contract -- which lost 1.1% in New York Mercantile Exchange action Friday -- traded as low as $51.40 earlier in the day, according to Reuters data, marking the weakest level for a front-month Nymex oil future since May 2009. Rival benchmark Brent North Sea crude retreated 99 cents, or 1.8%, to $55.43 a barrel, extending a 0.2% drop on Friday. It too touched its lowest price since May 2009, Reuters said. The moves came as the euro retreated sharply, helping send the ICE U.S. dollar index up 0.4% for the day to 91.45, according to FactSet. A rising U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated crude more expensive to holders of euros, yen and other units, often depressing demand for the futures.
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