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NYMEX crude slumps after Greece anti-austerity party wins snap polls

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Shutterstock photo - - Crude oil prices dropped sharply in Asia on Monday as an anti-austerity party in Greece was poised to form the next government and push for new terms with the country's creditors.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March slumped 1.66% to $44.57 a barrel.

Greece's likely new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said Sunday that he will not clash with the country's creditors but repeated that an end to austerity measures and an abolition of the Troika remain the party's goals.

Tsipras, according to press reports, said his government will present creditors its own four year fiscal adjustment plan that will replace the existing one drafted by the previous government of Antonis Samaras. He also said the new government will present its own plan for public debt sustainability.

"There will be no catastrophic clash (with the creditors), nor a continuity of this submission. The new Greek government is ready to cooperate and negotiate with Greece's partners a just and viable solution. With its own fiscal plan, its own debt plan," Tsipras said.

"We are very well aware that we do not have a blank check ... we will form a government that represents all Greeks," he said, hinting that even if his party gets absolute majority in parliament he would be open for alliances with other anti-austerity parties.

The party may not win an outright majority in the 300-seat parliament with the latest count showing it at 149 to 151 seats.

Last week, West Texas Intermediate oil prices fell sharply on Friday, as concerns over slowing demand and ample supplies combined with a rally in the dollar weighed.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Thursday that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 10.1 million barrels last week, the biggest weekly gain since March 2001.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 397.9 million barrels, the highest level since May.

The euro fell to fresh 11-year lows against the greenback after the European Central Bank unveiled a €1.2 trillion asset purchase program on Thursday.

The central bank will purchase €60 billion in assets per month, starting in March and continuing until late 2016, to combat slowing growth and inflation in the euro area.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent for March delivery inched up 27 cents, or 0.56%, on Friday to settle at $48.79 a barrel by close of trade.

Brent's gains came following reports of the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah amid growing speculation over a possible shift in the kingdom's policy of allowing crude prices to fall.

The 90-year-old monarch, who was admitted to hospital in December with pneumonia, will be succeeded by his half-brother, Crown Prince Salman.

Gains were limited after data showed that China's HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index held below the 50.0-level for the second straight month in January, underlining concerns over the health of the world's second largest economy.

China is the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand.

In the week ahead, investors will be awaiting the outcome of Wednesday's Federal Reserve policy meeting for further clarification on when interest rates might start to rise.

Friday's preliminary data on U.S. fourth quarter growth will also be in focus, while the latest euro zone inflation data is also due out on Friday. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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