Oil starts week by hitting lowest level of year

The price of oil fell to its low for the year on continued doubts about some European countries' ability to pay off massive government debts.
By CHRIS KAHN Published: May 15, 2012
Advertisement
;

The price of oil fell to its low for the year on continued doubts about some European countries' ability to pay off massive government debts.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude lost $1.35 to end the day at $94.78 per barrel in New York. That's the lowest level since Dec. 19.

Brent crude, which helps set the price for oil imported by U.S. refineries, gave up $1.26 to finish at $111 per barrel in London. Brent was last this low at the end of January.

Oil declined as a leadership crisis in Greece raised doubts that it would comply with a eurozone-supported plan to get out of debt. Analysts see Greece as a test case for whether European nations can improve their economies. Europe consumes 18 percent of the world's oil.

“You have to ask yourself who's next after the Greeks,” said Gene McGillian, a broker and oil analyst at Tradition Energy. “What happens if Spain or other countries have similar troubles.”