Crude oil prices dropped for a third straight session and have moved below $50 per barrel again.

Light sweet crude for May delivery dropped to $49.43, down $1.62 for the session. Prices hit as low as $49.34 earlier in the session.

Traders looked ahead to the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report. Experts are looking for a build of about 1 million barrels for both crude oil and gasoline inventories.

Last week's data showed crude oil inventories increased 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 3 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories increased 2.2 million barrels last week. A drop of about 1.5 million barrels was expected.

While the economic calendar remains light today, the U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its monthly consumer credit report at 3 pm ET. Consumer credit for February is likely to show a decline of $1.5 billion.

Things will pick up on that front later in the week as Wednesday will bring wholesale trade data while import and export prices will be announced on Thursday.

The dollar rallied versus the euro and sterling Tuesday morning in New York as risk averse traders expressed concerns about the start of earnings season, which kicks off today with quarterly results from Alcoa. The buck also gained on the pound, but eased versus the yen.

Crude oil dropped $1.46 for Monday's session. Prices touched as low as $49.81 in afternoon trading.

For comments and feedback: contact