Crude oil rises above US$95 as Dow recovers from early 250-point decline

The price of oil had a sudden reversal into positive territory Monday after the stock market tried to put the brakes on a four-day skid.

Benchmark oil for August delivery rose $1.49 to close at US$95.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil sank by $4.55 a barrel, or 4.7 per cent, on Thursday and Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve spooked investors by signalling the end of a bond-buying program that has boosted the economy.

Oil fell initially Monday — going as low as US$92.57 — because of growing worries that China’s decision to clamp down on informal lending could hamper growth in a major energy consuming country.

But once stocks clawed back from their lowest levels of the day, oil moved higher, gaining nearly $2 a barrel in two hours. The Dow Jones industrial average, down almost 250 points in the first half-hour of trading Monday, finished with a loss of 140 points.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, rose 25 cents to finish at US$101.16 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline lost two cents to end at US$2.74 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose one cent to finish at US$2.85 a gallon and natural gas slipped three cents to finish at US$3.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.