BANGKOK – The price of oil slid Monday as investors grew worried about possible fallout from a plan to pay for a bailout for cash-strapped Cyprus by slapping a tax on deposits in the country’s banks.
Benchmark oil for April delivery was down 97 cents to US$92.48 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 42 cents to end at $93.45 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday.
The tax is part of a plan agreed to on Saturday by Cyprus and its international lenders, and it prompted savers to rush to banks in Cyprus to withdraw as much of their cash as they could.
Analysts, however, said that it appeared unlikely that panic would spread to other countries and prompt capital flight from weaker EU economies.
“While depositors from other sovereigns with fiscal issue such as Portugal, Spain and Greece will be looking at the levy with great interest, we are confident they are not going to flee local banks, which is ultimately the key concern here,” said Chris Weston of IG Markets in Melbourne.
On Monday, the euro slid against the dollar and other major currencies. A stronger dollar pushes down oil prices, making crude more expensive for traders using other currencies.
Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell $1.33 to $108.52 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 3.8 cents to $3.113 a gallon.
— Heating oil fell 2.6 cents to $3.005 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 4.6 cents to $3.918 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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