Crude prices fall $1/bbl on Europe debt worries, stronger US dollar

12 December 2011 11:32  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude futures prices fell by more than $1/bbl on Monday, undermined by a stronger US dollar and concerns that measures agreed by EU leaders last week will not be enough to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.

At 11:09 GMT, January Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange was trading at $107.46/bbl, down $1.16/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the North Sea benchmark fell to a session low of $107.00/bbl, down by $1.62/bbl.

January NYMEX light sweet crude futures (WTI) were at $98.16/bbl, down by $1.25/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the US benchmark fell to a session low of $97.89/bbl, down $1.52/bbl.

The US dollar strengthened against the euro and other leading currencies on Monday, making dollar-denominated currencies such as crude more expensive for overseas investors.

Last Friday, EU nations - with the exception of UK - agreed to stricter budgetary levels designed to prevent a deepening of the present eurozone debt crisis.

The new measures, which are seen as a move to closer fiscal union, include a cap of 0.5% of GDP on member nations annual structural deficits and "automatic consequences" for countries whose public deficit exceeds 3% of GDP. The rules also give European Commission powers to monitor national budgets and enforce adherence to the tighter measures.

In addition, the measures will enable the EU to provide €200bn ($267bn) in bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund to tackle the ongoing debt crisis.

However, further negotiations and the requirement for some nations, including Ireland, to hold referendums are expected to delay implementation of the new measures for a number of months.

As a result, investors remain concerned that the European debt crisis will not be stemmed in the near term. There are also worries that tighter budgetary controls could reduce economic growth in the eurozone.

($1 = €0.75)


By: James Dennis
+65 6780 4359



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