NEW YORK, N.Y. – The price of oil fell Monday as Exxon shut a pipeline that carries oil out of the U.S. Midwest and a report showed a cooling of U.S. manufacturing activity.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery was down $1.15 to US$96.08 a barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Exxon Mobil Corp. shut its Pegasus pipeline after a leak in Arkansas. The pipeline, with a capacity of 96,000 barrels a day, carries Canadian crude oil from the Midwest to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil added to earlier losses after an industry group said growth in U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in March. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index dropped to 51.3 from 54.2 in February.

Oil rose by US$3.52 a barrel, or 3.8 per cent last week, driven by signs of strength in the U.S. economy. The gain for March was 5.6 per cent. Higher prices motivated investors to cash in.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, wholesale gasoline fell two cents to US$3.09 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil was down one cent to US$3.03 a gallon and natural gas fell two cents to $4 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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