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US equities were poised to start the week slightly lower as investors eyed the decline in the price of crude oil.

Less than two hours ahead of the opening bell in New York, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.12 per cent to 2,372.5, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures declined 0.03 per cent to 20,857 and Nasdaq 100 futures edged lower by roughly the same margin to 5,407.3.

The commodities market has been in focus in recent weeks, with crude prices posting a steep decline this month. West Texas Intermediate was off by 1.2 per cent to $48.21 a barrel on Monday, and has fallen by almost 11 per cent since the end of February.

Energy shares have come under pressure amid the selling in crude. The S&P 500 energy index, which tracks the largest US groups in the industry, has slipped 1.5 per cent in March, while the small-cap focused Russell 2000 energy sector is down 6.4 per cent.

Elsewhere, the US dollar trimmed earlier losses: The buck was down by 0.1 per cent against a basket of six developed-market currencies, having fallen as much as 0.3 per cent in the European session. The JPMorgan emerging market currencies index was flat after rising as much as 0.2 per cent earlier.

Emerging market currencies last week posted the strongest performance since the start of February after the Federal Reserve delivered a rate rise that was accompanied by a more dovish forecast than some Wall Street economists had expected.

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