NEW YORK — Oil reversed an early decline Monday and finished above $92 for the first time this month.
Benchmark oil rose 11 cents to end at $92.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price was below $91 a barrel during morning trading.
Although oil shows a gain of nearly 2 percent over the past three trading sessions, many traders believe the large supply of oil in the U.S. will keep a lid on the price.
Last week the Energy Department said that the nation's supply of crude is 10.3 percent above year-ago levels. And U.S. oil production, at more than 7 million barrels a day, is at the highest level since the late 1990s.
Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, estimates that oil supplies grew another 2.5 million barrels in the week ended March 8. He also said oil could start to fall toward $85 a barrel later in the week if U.S. economic data boosts the dollar. A stronger dollar makes oil a less enticing investment for traders using other currencies, since oil is traded in dollars.
Pump prices fell slightly over the weekend. The nationwide average for a gallon of gas is $3.70, down 9 cents from a year ago.
Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 63 cents to finish at $110.22 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
_ Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to end at $3.15 a gallon.
_ Heating oil slipped 1 cent to finish at $2.97 a gallon.
_ Natural gas rose 2 cents to end at $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.