LONDON – The price of oil declined below US$101 per barrel after disappointing earnings in the U.S. on Friday, having earlier risen on worries about the tensions in Ukraine.
Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.
Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, sparked by months of anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to Russia. Ukrainian forces launched an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country’s turbulent east. In response, Russia responded by announcing military exercises near Ukraine’s border.
Traders are worried that an escalation in the tensions could push the U.S. and European Union to sanction Russia’s economic interests, which are dominated by energy trade. Those concerns had pushed oil prices up, before other news brought it back down.
Weak earnings from Ford and Amazon in particular helped dent sentiment. A drop in Ford sales in the U.S. suggested consumer spending on transportation and fuel in the world’s largest economy might not remain as strong as expected.
In other energy futures trading in New York:
— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon.
— Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.