The price of oil recovered slightly Tuesday, rising to above $86 a barrel, even as a massive storm was pounding the heavily populated U.S. East Coast, reducing demand for fuel by keeping drivers off roads, closing businesses and silencing activity in New York City and other metropolitan areas.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for December delivery was up 50 cents to $86.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Crude oil prices fell 74 cents, or 1.3 percent, to finish at $85.54 a barrel Monday. The Nymex will be closed again Tuesday because of the storm, but electronic trading continues.
The biggest refineries in the northeastern United States shut down or throttled back sharply on Monday as the storm came ashore into New Jersey and hurled seawater at New York City, closing U.S. financial markets.
Analysts said the impact on demand, with power outages and the shutdown of major cities, could be significant. That impact on oil prices would only be offset partially by a drop in oil supplies, as some oil imports would be cut off.