New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, dropped 65 cents to $92.46 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April shed 79 cents to $113.65.

"The cloudy Italian elections sent shudders across global markets... causing panic it might derail the eurozone's nascent recovery," IG Markets Singapore said in a market commentary.

A political deadlock loomed in Italy as it appeared Sunday's elections failed had to produce a clear winner.

Polls show that while the leftists won the lower house, the party run by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had more seats in the upper house.

A majority in both chambers of parliament is required to form a government, leaving Italy in a state of limbo.

"This raised fears that much-needed austerity measures for Italy could stall due to political infighting," the IG Markets report said.