BANGKOK – Global economic jitters and the prospect Italy will reignite Europe's debt crisis dragged oil down to near $92 a barrel Tuesday.
Benchmark crude for April delivery was down 89 cents at $92.22 per barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 2 cents to settle at $93.11 on Monday.
Markets were rattled by the possibility of political paralysis in Italy after near-complete results in crucial national elections showed no clear front-runner. The uncertainty bodes ill for the nation's efforts to pass the tough reforms it needs to overhaul its debt-laden economy. That could reignite Europe's long-simmering crisis of confidence in the euro common currency.
Adding to the downbeat mood were weak manufacturing figures from China on Monday and looming spending cuts in the U.S. as political leaders in Washington remain at odds over how quickly to trim the budget deficit.
In London, Brent crude was down 82 cents at $113.62 on the ICE futures exchange.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was down 3.7 cents at $3.227 a gallon.
— Heating oil dropped 2.6 cents to $3.072 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 2.5 cents to $3.439 per 1,000 cubic feet.