SINGAPORE–Oil prices fell to near US$91 a barrel Thursday in Asia after Germany’s leader said a Greek vote in December on a debt bailout package could lead to Greece leaving the eurozone. Benchmark crude for December delivery was down US$1.10 at US$91.41 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$0.32 to settle at US$92.51 in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude was down US$0.74 at US$108.55 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell US$0.021 to US$2.98 per gallon and gasoline futures slid US$0.031 at US$2.60 per gallon. Natural gas added US$0.024 at US$3.77 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Analysts said oil prices could fall during the weeks leading up to the vote as investors mull the possible impact of Greek rejection of the debt plan. “This move could leave a window of uncertainty during which the financial implications of a ‘no’ vote could be priced into the market,” J.P. Morgan said in a report. However, J.P Morgan expects Brent to average US$115 next year amid falling crude inventories and low spare production capacity of suppliers. “The oil market is very tight and that means it can easily rally by US$10 to US$20 in a blink on seasonal demand or supply-side issues,” the bank said.