Oil lower amid jitters in Washington

By Eileen Ng, AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia–Oil prices were lower Monday amid jitters as a battle loomed in Washington among U.S. political leader over a federal budget needed to avoid a partial shutdown of the government.

Benchmark oil for November delivery fell US$1.07 to US$101.80 per barrel at late afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 16 cents to close at US$102.87 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

A lasting solution seems far off as the White House and Republican lawmakers still disagree sharply on spending cuts and other key budget issues.

Goldman Sachs estimated that a three-week shutdown would slow the economy’s annual growth rate in the October-December quarter by up to 0.9 percentage point. Oil has already fallen for three straight weeks as diplomatic efforts surrounding Syria and Iran eased concerns about Middle East supplies.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, fell 82 cents to US$107.81 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.7 cents to US$2.6429 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.5 cents to US$3.536 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil lost 1.5 cents to US$2.9696 per gallon.