Oil traded near a three-month high in New York as the prospect of new leadership at Europe’s most financially hard-hit countries allayed fears that the region’s debt crisis will damage the economy.
Futures rebounded from a 1.1 percent loss after a former spokesman for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that the premier may step down within “hours” and push for early elections. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to leave office to allow a national unity government to secure outside financing and avert a collapse of the country’s economy.
European finance chiefs were meeting in Brussels today to work on details of a plan to bulk out the region’s bailout fund. Investor concern that Italy will struggle to cut the region’s second-biggest debt load sent the yield on its 10-year bond to about 6.68 percent today. The nation’s parliament votes tomorrow on the 2010 budget report as two Berlusconi allies defected to the opposition last week and a third quit yesterday. Giuliano Ferrara, editor of newspaper Il Foglio and a former Berlusconi spokesman, reported that the premier may step down. Berlusconi later denied the report.
The U.S. is the world’s biggest oil consumer, using 19.1 million barrels a day in 2010, or 21 percent of global consumption, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review. China is the second-largest, accounting for about 11 percent and the European Union used 16 percent.
Crude for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was at $95.66 a barrel, after falling as low as $93.23. Oil in New York gained for a fifth week in the five trading days ended Nov. 4, the longest rising streak since the period ended April 3, 2009. Prices are up 3.8 percent this year.
Brent crude for December settlement was $1.34 higher at $113.31 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $18.43 to New York crude, compared with $17.71 on Nov. 4 and a record settlement of $27.88 on Oct. 14.
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