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Oil falls below $82 on warmer weather expectations

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SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices fell below $82 a barrel Tuesday in Asia on expectations a frigid cold spell in parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia will ease in coming weeks, weakening crude demand.

Benchmark crude for February delivery was down 61 cents to $81.92 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Monday, a weakening U.S. dollar helped push the contract to a 15-month high near $84 a barrel before it settled down 23 cents at $82.52.

Crude prices have jumped from $69 a barrel a month ago as cold winter weather, especially in the U.S. Northeast, boosted demand for oil products such as heating oil. Forecasters now expect those freezing temperatures to rise the rest of this month.

“The bullish impetus off of the dollar weakness was largely offset by warmer Northeast temperature expectations for the next couple of weeks,” Galena Illinois-based Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.

The euro fell slightly against the dollar in early Asian trading Tuesday and the dollar was steady against the yen.

In other Nymex trading in February contracts, heating oil fell 1.7 cents to $2.16 a gallon and gasoline fell 1.32 cents to $2.13 a gallon. Natural gas futures were up 2.6 cents at $5.48.

In London, Brent crude for February delivery fell 64 cents to $80.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.