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Published: Tuesday, 5/17/2011

Oil prices fall as disappointing housing, industrial data prompts questions about demand


Oil prices are falling after factory production and new home construction declined in the U.S. last month.

Benchmark oil for June delivery fell 67 cents to $96.70 per barrel Tuesday morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Federal Reserve says factories produced fewer goods in April for the first time in 10 months. Part of the drop is related to a shortage in parts from Japan that affected auto manufacturing.

In addition, the Commerce Department says builders broke ground on 10.6 percent fewer new homes in April compared with March.

Analysts say the disappointing news is raising questions about demand for gasoline and other energy products.

Meanwhile, gas is $3.944 a gallon nationally and has dropped about 4 cents since Friday.

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