Oil slips below $94 on US debt-ceiling concerns

Oil slips below $94 a barrel as investors worry about debt-limit talks in Washington

Associated Press

The price of oil is lower as heated rhetoric in Washington offsets forecasts for colder temperatures in areas where homeowners rely on oil for heat.

Benchmark crude slipped 34 cents to $93.79 a barrel in afternoon trading in New York. The contract rose 58 cents to finish at $94.15 per barrel in New York Monday, partly due to expectations of chilly weather in the Northeast.

The dispute in Washington about the U.S. debt ceiling worries oil investors, who fear a reprise of the standoff in the summer of 2011. Standard & Poor's cut the U.S. credit rating that August and oil dropped about 7 percent for the month.

President Barack Obama warned of dire consequences if Congress fails to increase the government's borrowing authority. "Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet. Markets could go haywire," the president said.

Concerns about weakening economic growth in Germany and forecasts for a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles also weighed on oil prices.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 71 cents to $111.15 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 3 cents at $2.72 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 4 cents to $3.02 a gallon.

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Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.

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