BANGKOK – Crude prices retreated to near $84 a barrel Monday amid reduced demand for oil in the storm-stricken U.S. northeast.
Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 40 cents to $84.45 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest price since July 6. The contract fell $2.23, or 2.2 percent, to close at $84.86 a barrel on Friday.
Traders attributed Friday's plunge to the U.S. government's decision to temporarily allow foreign oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter northeastern ports.
That will help ease a fuel shortage in the areas hardest hit by superstorm Sandy, said Victor Shum, energy analyst at Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.
"Many areas affected by the storm are still struggling to get back to normal. That means demand for fuel is also lower," Shum said.
Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 57 cents to $105.11 a barrel in London.
In other energy futures trading in New York:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cent to $2.568 per gallon.
— Heating oil fell 0.7 cent to $2.941 per gallon.
— Natural gas dropped 4.3 cents to $3.511 per 1,000 cubic feet.