Oil rises slightly above US$105 a barrel; Syria deal, debt ceiling limit further gain

By Pamela Sampson, AP

BANGKOK–The price of oil rose Monday, recovering some of the ground lost in the prior week.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 26 cents to US$105.01 at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That, however, was a small bounce back from Friday, when the now expired contract for October delivery dropped US$1.72 to close at US$104.67.

Progress in reaching a deal overseen by the U.S. and Russia to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons is helping to keep gains in oil prices limited.

Concerns about a possible shutdown of the U.S. government if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 1 offset positive data from China showing growth in manufacturing.

Last week, oil dropped US$3.54, or 3.3 percent. There was a midweek blip, however, when prices shot up 2.5 percent on Wednesday following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to keep its economic stimulus policy in place.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, rose 12 cents to US$109.34 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was almost unchanged at US$2.668 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 2 cents to US$3.667 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil rose 0.5 cent to US$3.01 per gallon.