NEW YORK, N.Y. – The price of oil reversed sharp early losses Monday as nervousness over a bailout plan in Cyprus abated.
By early afternoon in New York, benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery was down just three cents at US$93.42 a barrel after having dropped as low as US$91.76.
Traders initially worried about possible fallout from a plan to pay for a bailout for cash-strapped Cyprus by slapping a tax on deposits in the country’s banks. Some bank customers withdrew as much of their cash as they could and the fear was the panic could spread to other countries and prompt capital flight from weaker EU economies.
Stock markets in Asia and Europe fell sharply. But as U.S. markets recovered from an early decline, oil started to rise.
Natural gas rose again, building on a month-long run that has seen the price jump 23 per cent. Futures gained three cents to US$3.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, was down 46 cents at US$109.36 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline lost two cents to US$3.14 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and heating oil was unchanged at US$2.94 a gallon.