Oil prices down in Asia

Oil fell in Asia Monday after the anti-austerity party Syriza swept to victory in Greece’s general elections, dealing a further blow to the struggling euro, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery plunged by as much as 2.7 percent to $44.35 a barrel in New York, and Brent crude for March tumbled by up to 1.9 percent in London.

Both contracts regained some ground and by mid-morning trade in Asia, WTI was trading at $45.14, down 45 cents or 0.99 percent, and Brent was at $48.44, off 35 cents or 0.72 percent.

“Oil prices plunged just when they opened. We believe that the initial drop was sparked by the Greek elections,” said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore, reports AFP.

“We even saw a glimpse of panic selling once the market opened. However, prices did rebound shortly after it dropped,” he told AFP.

The victory by the Syriza Party, whose anti-austerity policies have sparked fears Greece could exit the eurozone, sent the euro plunging to fresh 11-year lows against the US dollar.

Analysts say this makes dollar-priced oil more expensive, denting demand and adding further downward pressure on oil prices.