Oil rises as Cyprus worries ease

AP News
Posted: Mar 18, 2013 4:14 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil reversed sharp early losses and finished higher Monday as nervousness over a bailout plan in Cyprus abated.

Benchmark oil for April delivery rose 29 cents to end at $93.74 a barrel in New York. It had dropped as low as $91.76 earlier in the day.

Traders initially worried about possible fallout from a plan to pay for a bailout for cash-strapped Cyprus by slapping a tax on deposits in the country's banks. Some bank customers withdrew as much of their cash as they could and the fear was the panic could spread to other countries and prompt capital flight from weaker EU economies.

Stock markets in Asia and Europe fell sharply. But as U.S. markets recovered from an early decline, oil started to rise.

Natural gas rose again, building on a monthlong run that has seen the price jump 23 percent. Futures gained 1 cent to finish at $3.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.

At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gas held steady at $3.69. That's down about 15 cents from a year earlier.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 31 cents to end at $109.51 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to finish at $3.13 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to end at $2.93 a gallon.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.