SINGAPORE–Oil prices hovered near US$99 a barrel Monday in Asia amid optimism new leaders in Greece and Italy will help Europe at least temporarily contain its debt crisis. Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 15 cents at US$99.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$1.21 to settle at US$98.99 in New York on Friday. Brent crude was up 20 cents to US$114.36 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil added 2.2 cents to US$3.19 per gallon and gasoline futures gained 0.8 cents to US$2.62 per gallon. Natural gas fell 4.7 cents at US$3.54 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Crude has jumped about 32 percent from US$75 on Oct. 4 on hopes Greece will avoid a chaotic bond default and the financial crisis it would likely trigger. Last week, Greece and Italy replaced their leaders with economists in a bid to bolster confidence in their economic policies. “Markets have been remarkably patient so far,” DBS bank said in a report “The longer-run problems are just as big if less acute. A long hard slog remains.”