Crude fu­tures drop on Greek aus­ter­ity vote

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SIN­GA­PORE

Oil fell from a two-week high in New York amid spec­u­la­tion that U.S. crude in­ven­to­ries rose last week and as Greece pre­pared to vote on aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

Fu­tures slid as much as 1 per­cent af­ter surg­ing 3.6 per­cent yes­ter­day. Greek par­lia­men­tar­i­ans will vote later to­day on pro­posed spend­ing cuts amid con­cern that Europe's debt cri­sis may curb de­mand for fu­els. U.S. oil stock­piles prob­a­bly in­creased last week for a fourth time in five weeks, an En­ergy Depart­ment re­port may show to­day.

"Oil's drop is re­flect­ing some cau­tion ahead of the Greek vote tonight," said Carsten Fritsch, an an­a­lyst at Com­merzbank AG in Frankfurt. "There is con­cern that the aus­ter­ity pack­age will not pass the par­lia­ment and Greek will de­fault as a re­sult."

West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate for De­cem­ber de­liv­ery fell as much as 84 cents to $87.87 a bar­rel in elec­tronic trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change and was at $88.13 at 10 a.m. Lon­don time. The con­tract rose $3.06 yes­ter­day to $88.71, the high­est close since Oct. 22. Prices have de­clined 11 per­cent this year.

Brent for De­cem­ber set­tle­ment slid 81 cents to $110.26 a bar­rel on the ICE Fu­tures Europe ex­change. The con­tract climbed 3.1 per­cent yes­ter­day. The Euro­pean bench­mark crude was at a pre­mium of $22.13 to New York-traded WTI, com­pared with $22.36 yes­ter­day. Greek Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras seeks par­lia­men­tary ap­proval to­day of aus­ter­ity mea­sures to un­lock bailout funds amid the third gen­eral strike in six weeks.

The 238 pages of aus­ter­ity mea­sures, rang­ing from rais­ing the re­tire­ment age two years to 67 to elim­i­nat­ing Christ­mas and hol­i­day pay­ments for pen­sion­ers, will be de­bated from 10 a.m. with a roll-call vote expected af­ter 8 p.m. Athens time. Ap­proval of the leg­is­la­tion is the first of the par­lia­men­tary votes re­quired by Nov. 12 to un­lock a 31 bil­lion-euro ($40 bil­lion) por­tion of in­ter­na­tional aid.

Oil in New York is de­clin­ing af­ter reach­ing tech­ni­cal re­sis­tance along its mid­dle Bollinger Band yes­ter­day, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Bloomberg. This in­di­ca­tor is at $89.28 a bar­rel to­day. Fu­tures last month re­versed a rally af­ter fail­ing to set­tle above the same band, sig­nal­ing sell or­ders may be clus­tered around it.

US vot­ers re­turned Barack Obama as pres­i­dent of the world's big­gest crude-con­sum­ing na­tion. Obama's vic­tory re­duces the like­li­hood that the U.S. will ex­pand oil and gas drilling off­shore and on fed­eral land. The pres­i­dent threat­ened to veto a bill passed by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in July that would have al­most dou­bled the num­ber of oil and gas lease sales through 2015. Rom­ney said he sup­ported in­creased drilling.

—AP

The curve of Ger­man stock in­dex DAX is pic­tured as news about the US elec­tions ap­pear on a tele­vi­sion screen at stock mar­ket.

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