Just before the weekend, a key manufacturing index for China was revealed to have hit a four-month low. In addition, the European Union reported that unemployment in the 17-member eurozone reached a record 11.9 percent in January.
Economic news in the United States was also unsettling after the March 1 deadline for averting $85 billion in federal spending cuts passed with no resolution. The automatic spending cuts are expected to slow the economy, eliminating an estimated 700,000 jobs.
With these hints that demand would slacken, West Texas Intermediate crude oil shifted slightly lower, losing 32 cents to $90.36 a barrel.
Gasoline shed 3.17 cents to $3.0983 a gallon.
Home heating oil lost 1.1 cents to settle $2.919 a gallon.
Natural gas also added 7.6 cents to close $3.536 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline slipped from Sunday's $3.751 per gallon to $3.746, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.
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