February 10th, 2012

Crude oil dropped from a three-week high as euro-area finance ministers refused to approve a rescue package for Greece, boosting concern that the European debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.

Futures fell 1.2 percent after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of euro-area finance chiefs, said yesterday that Greece won’t get financial aid until it implements an austerity plan. The International Energy Agency also cut its 2012 global oil demand forecast for a sixth month, citing a “darkening” economic outlook.

“The market rallied earlier this week on signs that the Greek situation was about to be settled and is now giving back those gains,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “The longer this crisis continues, the more it will diminish European economic growth and along with that the oil demand outlook.”

Crude oil for March delivery decreased $1.17 to settle at $98.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose for a third day yesterday, climbing 1.1 percent to $99.84, the highest close since Jan. 19. Prices increased 0.8 percent this week and are up 14 percent in the past year.

Brent oil for March settlement fell $1.28, or 1.1 percent, to end the session at $117.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the first decline in nine days, ending the longest stretch of moves higher since October 2009. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude was at $18.64, 11 cents narrower than yesterday’s settlement.

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August 28th, 2011

Crude oil futures traded near a three-day high in New York as investors speculated that growth will recover in the U.S., spurring demand in the biggest crude consumer. Gasoline slid as Tropical Storm Irene headed toward Canada.

Crude oil futures fluctuated after climbing as much as 0.4 percent. Growth is safe in the long run and the central bank can still aid recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Aug. 26. Refineries along the East Coast were operating plants at or near normal levels after Irene weakened from a hurricane. London’s Brent dropped as Libyan rebels claimed full control of oil fields.

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