Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Crude oil futures fell Monday as investors reduced exposure, extending weakness that started a week ago amid increased investor caution in anticipation of a possible economic slowdown, an increase in oil production and a stronger dollar that could make oil more expensive in other currencies.
Crude oil futures "are notably weaker as investors continue to grow concerns over global growth prospects, while the strength in the U.S. dollar has also added to the bearish sentiment in the energy complex," DailyFX analyst Justin McQueen told UPI.
WTI crude oil futures for front-month delivery fell 1.2 percent to $66.79 per barrel as of 11:14 a.m. EST, while Brent crude for front-oil delivery declined 0.8 percent to $77.05 per barrel at the same time.
"Elsewhere, increased oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia have consequently eased concerns over a potential supply shock from the incoming Iranian sanctions," he added.
Since most crude oil trading is in U.S. dollars, a strengthening of the U.S. currency can make the commodity more expensive in other currencies.
WTI had traded at $69.61 per barrel on Monday, Oct. 22, before it fell sharply during the past week. Brent front-month futures early on the same day traded at just above $80 per barrel.
Last week, declines were partially attributed to investor concerns about oil production increases following Saudi Arabia's announced ramp-up of output to help cover supply disruptions expected after U.S. sanctions against Iran go into effect by Nov. 5.
Following the declines, many investors have decided to reduce their exposure, an analysis showed.
"The most recent report showed oil bulls reducing their long exposure further as the commodity continues to pull off long-term resistance. A trend seen as likely to continue, " Paul Robinson, an analyst at DailyFX, said in a report on Monday.
Robinson analyzed data that showed that at the end of last week there was a decline in long speculative positions to their smallest level in a year. In February, the speculative long positions were at their highest. A speculative long position reflects a view that prices will increase.
In other related news on Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest analysis of planned refinery outages for the fourth quarter of 2018 finds that planned outages in the United States are not likely to cause a shortfall in the supply of petroleum products-including gasoline, jet fuel and distillate fuel relative to expected demand, either nationally or within any U.S. region.