SINGAPORE–Oil prices hovered above US$85 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, pausing after gains of 13 percent over the past week that were fueled by hopes Europe will contain its debt crisis and avoid a global recession. Benchmark crude for November delivery was down 11 cents at US$85.30 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$2.43 to settle at US$85.41 in New York on Monday. Brent crude was down 12 cents at US$108.83 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell 0.5 cent to US$2.90 per gallon and gasoline futures added 0.8 cent to US$2.70 per gallon. Natural gas gained 3.3 cents to US$3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Concern that a possible debt default by Greece could lead to a banking crisis had sent crude to a 12-month low of US$75 last week.