Oil prices down, eyes on US budget stand-off
Crude prices fell in Asia on Tuesday as the political paralysis in Washington over the US budget shows no sign of ending, fuelling concerns it could lead to a US debt default.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November was down eight cents at $102.95 in afternoon trade while Brent North Sea crude for November eased 27 cents to $109.41.
As the US standoff enters its eighth day on Tuesday with no end in sight, investors are worried about the knock-on effect for demand in the world's top oil consumer, said Vanessa Tan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
"Concerns continue to run high as investors are also looking ahead to the October 17 deadline when the debt ceiling has to be raised or risk a default on US debt," Tan said.
Failure to lift the debt limit will mean the government is unable to pay its bills or service its debts, causing a default that analysts have warned could send the world economy back into recession.
A similar stand-off in 2011 went down to the wire before the ceiling was raised, but not before world stock markets tumbled and Standard & Poor's stripped the US of its top AAA rating.
Analysts said the fall in oil prices was partly stemmed because a tropical storm passed without major damage to energy infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico. Producers had shut in about 62 percent of the region's oil production ahead of the storm.