Brent oil snaps two-day gain
Brent crude halted a two-day advance in London before European finance ministers meet to discuss aid for Greece amid concern that region's debt turmoil will constrain fuel consumption.
Futures dropped as much as 0.8 percent as ministers prepare to meet to assess whether the latest round of cuts agreed by Greece are sufficient to warrant further assistance. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that prices, down 15 percent in London from this year's peak, are "good." Hedge funds and other large speculators cut bullish bets on West Texas Intermediate crude to the lowest in more than two years.
"We are no closer to a comprehensive solution for Europe," said Guy Wolf, a strategist at London-based commodities broker Marex Spectron Group Ltd., who predicts oil prices will recover in the first quarter. "While Europe remains a source of concern for the market, the global growth outlook has improved."
Brent for December settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $109.13 a barrel, down 27 cents, as of 9:50 a.m. local time. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $23.17 to New York-traded contracts. The spread was $23.33 on Nov. 9, the widest since Oct. 30. Crude for December delivery dropped 6 cents to $86.01 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 98 cents to $86.07 on Nov. 9, the highest close since Nov. 6. Prices are down 13 percent this year.