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Oil stems losses as Iran rhetoric heats up

Published: September 27, 2012 | 8:56 am
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BANGKOK (AP) — The slide in the price of oil halted near $90 a barrel Thursday in Asia over renewed worries about oil supplies if military hostilities erupt over Iran’s nuclear program.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 8 cents to $90.06 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.39 to finish at $89.98 per barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.

Victor Shum, an energy analyst at consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore, said harsh rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program and threats by Israel of military action against Iranian nuclear installations renewed worries about future oil supplies should an all-out conflagration erupt.

President Barack Obama told the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week that he wants to resolve the dispute through diplomacy but that the time to do so is “not unlimited.” Obama also said the Iranian government has failed to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful.

“Some of the comments from President Obama have caused some buying, causing oil to stabilize at around $90,” Shum said.

Wednesday’s drop in the oil price came as protests in Greece and Spain over spending cuts and tax hikes reminded traders of the debt crisis hobbling those countries and some others in Europe. Such austerity measures crimp the need for oil and oil products such as gasoline and diesel.

Brent crude fell 5 cents to $109.99 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Other energy futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Heating oil fell 0.5 cents to $3.098 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.2 cents to $3.069 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.4 cents to $3.211 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Associated Press.

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