Business

Oil slides below $106 per barrel

The price of oil fell below $106 a barrel Monday as traders weighed disappointing US orders for durable goods and the potential for international military intervention in Syria.

US benchmark crude for October delivery fell 50 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $105.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It swung between $105.56 and $107.37 during the day.

The Commerce Department said that orders for durable goods had their largest drop in almost a year, reflecting a struggling manufacturing sector. Orders for goods meant to last at least three years fell 7.3 percent in July.

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Traders are watching economic reports closely, speculating about when the Federal Reserve might begin phasing out its economic stimulus.

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The average price for gas in Massachusetts was $3.62 a gallon in the latest weekly AAA survey, down 2 cents from the previous week’s average, AAA Southern New England said.

The current national average is $3.54 a gallon.

Some see the weak reports as an indication that the Fed might wait before slowing down its stimulus.

The price of oil has risen about 15 percent in the past three months on concern that unrest in Egypt and civil war in Syria could disrupt production and exports, especially in Libya and Iraq.

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It has also raised the specter of spreading violence that could block important supply routes.