SINGAPORE–Oil prices hovered below US$99 a barrel Friday in Asia amid concern Europe’s debt crisis will undermine the continent’s economic growth and crude demand. Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 8 U.S. cents at US$98.90 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell US$3.77 to settle at US$98.82 in New York on Thursday. Brent crude for January delivery was up 22 U.S. cents at US$108.44 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 0.3 U.S. cents to US$3.09 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 0.5 U.S. cents to US$2.51 per gallon. Natural gas gained 1.2 U.S. cents at US$3.42 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Crude jumped to above US$103 on Thursday before pulling back as Spanish and French sovereign debt yields rose sharply higher. Investors are increasingly worried austerity measures to contain debt levels could trigger a recession in Europe.